Friday, March 30, 2007

Jill Sobule - I Kissed A Girl

I have had a hell of a day... and this made me feel much, much better.

green, black, white and blue

I went to San Antonio's only all vegetarian restaurant, green, yesterday with Roberto. The food was decent but the little one had a grand time irritating others with her running around and jumping (yes jumping). she ate my soup and had half of a chocolate espresso cafe and enough milk to feed a baby cow.

The last couple of nights I'd taken her to the Esperanza's CineMujer festival for all kinds of documentaries and films about and by women. Because I work out in gringolandia, I was late to the movie I really did want to see - Mom's Apple Pie, a documentary that was heartbreaking in talking about lesbians who were fighting for custody of their children. Relationships broke because of the struggle for custody, friendships and organizations grew and fell because of the need for support for lesbian mothers and their partners.

It hurt me to realize how treasured (and still precarious) my life is. I did parental reliquishment years ago because I didn't want this kind of hassle but I still face the stupidity of heterosexist people who, even this week, could face me and question my ability as a parent because my daughter spends afternoons at my mother's house. I have no choice but to be an incredible example for myself and my daughter by working, trying to maintain self-sufficiency and working to be a voice in any space. Of course I hate that I cannot pick up my daughter from school everyday but I have to bring money in that keeps her healthy and warm. And for that one thing to serve as an example of bad parenting when, in truth, my child is brilliant, is upsetting.

It's worse that those in this country would even try to suggest that the worst straight parent is better than a good queer parent. My brother's girlfriend hinted at such, suggesting that my daughter wasn't acting like a "lady". I told Tigrette that "ladies" were men's versions of what women were supposed to be and that, if anyone should define what it means to be a woman, it should be women - not men. And she continues to talk - saying I should spend more time with my child or that caring for my niece once in a while would make my daughter jealous (and, do I really have any more time to give another baby anyway? I mean, I already neglect Tigrette...).

I wish that I could get this woman (and others like her) to understand jealousy has no place in a household. That we must define ourselves or we are defined by those around us (and not everyone around us is good) and, believe it or not, that sexuality doesn't rub off on another person. If it did, we'd all be straight because they are the majority here.

It just hurts me. It's upsetting that I couldn't smack someone on the head to get them to understand. My mother tells me she's not a parent yet - that having a baby doesn't make you a parent right away. That role grows on you or you become a parent.

So, of course, I'm in all this internal turmoil while Tigrette goes to the concession counter at Esperanza to buy popcorn and finally the next movie is on. "Pura Lengua" was an interesting short piece but the highlight for me was a performance by Adelina Anthony. She is amazing. She did a couple of scenes from her "Bruising for Besos" theater piece that had me freaking, laughing, remembering, contemplating - sometimes all at once. In particular, she read through one piece where a woman is trying to comfort her partner after a big fight. She ends up slapping the partner and tells her she was going crazy but that she's there for her. Adelina plays the voice of the one who was hit. That inside look revealed not just her own thoughts as the person hit but also how the hit wasn't done from a situation we would normally expect to witness within abuse but that it was still abuse. I remember when Ya Vez would sit on me and hold me down, telling me I'd provoked so much emotion and love from her. As though that expression in this physical attack was justified. I went home that night and wrote about it.

All this rain, and everything around me has me a little triste. I would love a cup of lovingly-made cafe. I would love to not be at work having horrible cheese and peanut butter crackers for lunch at 3 in the afternoon. I would love to feel a little justified.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

new poem :: camina

ca mi na

sometimes, just before you've arrived,
there was a break

in the conversation
or in the foundation

and your people were divided
those who remembered
those who did not

if you are a woman
the world says fix it

if there is a woman next to you she is saying hmmm,
lip turned up, eyes scrutinizing

if a man
the world says fix it

if there is a man next to you he is looking to the other men,
wondering if he will be the first forward

if a person of color
the world says join, it's not too late

if there is a person of color next to you
he is saying that train is broken

if a queer person
the world says make yourself part of it

if there is a queer next to you
she is saying hell with this shit, let's go

but if she's an afro-caribbean feminist queer
she's more likely to go out singing
"no quiero verte mas
que te vaya bien"*

if, in all this, your grandfather from the island, stands as witness,
bumps you with his shoulder and convinces you
to walk with him to Matanzas

your feet glide right over the ocean
to his casita
where he'll cook
steamed crabs
white rice
red beans

and sit you down in his kitchen to make the salad
as he talks, reminding you of the candence in your own voice,
his hands thrown up as he says Olvidate de eso, mi amor

and soon you are eating, moving in your seat
ca mi na
to those who do not share your vision
thsoe who cannot honor the place you call home

de moverse la cintura
empiezes con la camina

muevete la cintura, empieze tu camina

ca mi na
ca mi na

*from "El Adios de Este Momento" by Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineiro.

new poem :: bocaditos (at the lips)

I take sleep like a piece of cake,
with milk, with longing

but fat tuesday is gone and now begins the lean time --
my body has decided to give up those sweet minutes

happiness seems like everyone else's
but suffering is unique for each of us, no?

4 a.m. and, for all the santero's smoke and blessings,
I find your pet, indecision, has moved into the living room,
taking up the couch, bumping the arms of visitors, asking about the cloudy air

I misread you - is that why I search for you so much?
You, sleepy and sick. Each day carved neatly.

no prayer will bring you to me.
no promise enough but still I try:

I promise I will learn more about you if sleep next to me
I promise to be good

I promise to cook happiness into the home,
mix raisins into the picadillo - fried crisp bocaditos
handed warm in a cotton hand towel

watch out
the first bite always lets out some steam.

new poem :: neomancy

baby reads the signs of nature, says the dragon cloud shows what direction we should be heading - so why are you planning to move us south?

it's my plan to move us slowly across the border, have us perfect our language and demeanor until those in de efe don't know we are American

there is more land there, more land but less hills, she says.
less hills mean less places for troubles to get caught up in - the rain washes the bad away more easily, I counter.

look, she points out the car's window, the sun has changed direction. now it sets in teh east. we are moving north after all.

I love Wynonna

She's getting divorced. Next she'll just say "Screw this, I'm moving on to women!" Look at that tie.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

matria o muerte, venceremos

I feel bad for Mitt Romney. Poor thing, thinking he needs so many votes he has to cater to Republican Cubans in South Florida. Cuando van a aprender? There's no winning that crowd - they want to increase trade restrictions but send money, they want to leave travel open (for them, not tourists with money) and extend American rights to freedom of speech to Cubans on the island. Yeah. Okay.

Speaking of matria o muerte, venceremos, I had a meeting with an academic advisor last week who made my completing my Bachelor's degree really easy. But, I had to reschedule because my previous file was at the downtown campus and everything had to be verified. After moving the file and reviewing it, I met with another advisor who gave me even better news. Rather than having to reapply for admission to the university, I could take an outside class at SAC or another community college and do a transcript transfer. Not only did I save $40 on the application (SAC has free registration), but tuition comes out lower than UTSA, even with a discount the university gives to faculty and staff. Even better, I only need to make up ONE class. Yes, it's a science class, but it is one class! So, of course I'm happy. I was twirling back to my office after the meeting. I'm ecstatic. My GPA sucks but I'm ecstatic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

marriage lessons - get in line!

Oh my god, there is so much wrong with this shit, where do you start?

The "Dr. Phil bill", as it's being called, is meant to "start addressing marriages and keeping families together, [if we don't ] then we're never going to be able to fund the social costs in this state of divorced families and separations and that sort of thing," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Warren Chisum, R-Pampa. "If we'd spend more money on the front end, there'd be less money to spend on the back end."

You remember Chisum, don't you? Gorgeous guy, a lot of heart, who defines marriage as:

I'd much rather we queers just took our bags and vacationed on honeymoons without the whole marriage justification. Chisum has way too much time on his hands. Someone should write a letter to his wife - have her occupy him on occasion. Hey, it's one of the responsibilities and rights of marriage, no?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Omarion - Ice box // done in

This is how I'm feeling - right now I'm in an argument with myself.

I'm tired.

I am getting paid more at my current job but have less money: Gas to and fro, mandatory retirement money removed fromy paycheck monthly and the car again acting up (this time the distributor went bad) all leave me with so little it hurts me that I have to talk to the little one on the phone to tell her she can't go skating because we got to save money.

And I know I'll let this go soon enough but I'm kind of irked that I was helping Cliffy update her resume and application online today because she couldn't. When we spoke yesterday I told her I would need her information and she would need to call me when she got out of work. Well, she didn't call.

I should have stopped there and let her deal with it but I keep my word - so I completed it and submitted the application on her behalf. I left her a message and I realize my voice didn't sound very loving but when am I going to get it? That here I am doing it on my own and if someone does help me I am in such a space that I feel like I'm literally getting on my hands and knees to thank them.

I know that she has family shit going on. It's not pretty. Hell, we all have family shit. The tune up for my car should have cost $50 but ended up over $100 because of the distributor (there's goes gas money for the month), my father lost his job and my mom, who is 4 months from completing payments on her car, doesn't have the $500 needed. My rent is going up but I don't have the funds I would need to be able to move right now.

So much for my temporary illusions of lower-middle class. All this crap feels like the working class stuff I've always grown up with. [Don't think it doesn't remind me of my being single, and not having a companion for emotional/financial/spiritual support - that's a whole other blog entry.]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

presidency is for the birds

I'm tired of being asked which I like better, Obama or Clinton. I was in Galveston, TX the first weekend in March, enjoying my lettuce wraps from Chili's when, through the glass window into the bar area, I could see Obama and Clinton taking turns salivating on Alabama church congregations during what is supposed to be a time of worship and reflection on Bloody Sunday... there were so many stories about grandmothers and history and home cooking that I swore they were having a documentary about mothers and what they've taught us - rather it was pandering.

My mother asked me what I was looking at and I told her "Clinton". She turned, a bit excitedly, and said "Bill?" "No, the only Clinton in the news now - Hillary," I replied. Of course my mother started the whole woman deconstructing woman argument (i.e. "I can't respect her after she stayed with him when all the news of his affairs got out" or "She's so cold."). And of course her stance on Obama was "he seems good - I just don't know how much he knows about foreign policy, etc..."

She then told me what most average Democrats are thinking - that she would vote for Bill if he ran again. She assumed I would too but I just thought of how he screwed us (queers) years ago:

Back on Martin Luther King Day in 1991, about 300 politically active gay men and women piled into Marty Rouse's loft on Warren Street in Tribeca to meet then-Governor Bill Clinton.

Eager to tap into the community's powerful fund-raising potential, Mr. Clinton pledged to lift a ban preventing gays from serving in the military. The assembled crowd applauded and left energized by all of Mr. Clinton's inclusive rhetoric.

Then, in 1994, in the face of enormous political pressure, Mr. Clinton compromised and passed the much-maligned ban on openly gay soldiers.

Some activists still aren't over it.

"How could you not be disheartened by that?" said Mr. Rouse, who is currently a field director for the Human Rights Campaign, and who is not supporting any candidate this year.

And in some ways, Hillary's allusions to the wonderful Clinton era before may hold true again - she has been courting the Human Rights Campaign (who shared a cute little laugh with Hillary recently because they and she have the same initials - ahhw!) and reminding others that she supported HIV funding because, you know, we are defined by our diseases all while continuing to support "don't ask, don't tell".

Worse, while marriage for same sex couples was the hot topic of the last election, this time it will be DADT. Well, as a young woman who saw more information tables for military mess than for ivy league colleges in my working class high school, I say don't let gays be in the military - they've already screwed other minorities into military slavery. But, of course, DADT will eventually be removed and then we can have a featured spot in PBS documentaries about military heroism and finally }}batting of the eyes{{ we'll be accepted!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

ay dios

stuff in the news is making me pissed - not just the whole scooter libby thing, or sexual abuse not being addressed by the texas youth commission -

but Tigrette gave me a laugh yesterday when we wandered into someone's home to buy a traditional dining table (my friends weren't loving the chinese table with floor cushions and so it became a waste of space and/or my filing space). They were so incredibly sweet by themselves. The table was $60 but they didn't have change and I had $35 on me so they let me have it for that.

Then, Tigrette mentioned smelling dinner and I apologized for having interrupted their dinner. The woman selling me the table asked if I'd eaten dinner and then asked Tigrette if she'd like chicken. Of course, the little one makes every place her home so she said yes. After that, she offered her some tea while the husband took the legs off the table and helped me pack it up. They joked that if we'd arrived 15 minutes earlier we could have sat down to dinner with them. No doubt Tigrette would have sat down before being asked.

I told my mom I'd never seen a kid do that - just sit themselves down as though already part of the family. She told me that my grandfather, Adalberto, would buy an avocado (in case) and, if they went to someone's house, he would sit down and wait for food then cut open the avocado. My mom claims he must have seen the avocado as his contribution to the meal.

So, the little one and I are both feeling more legitimate with our conventional and friendly table, even while I am discussing leaving San Antonio for the next place on my journey. Don't worry, we might paint it better reflect our personality - the table could end up like both Tigrette and me - sweet looking but crazy.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

San Anto Tejas

I was parked behind a super old, bouncy station wagon painted in purple glitter with a pink matte trim last night while waiting for the elusive green light that never shows at the intersection of Basse and Blanco. Under the license plate, a plastic severed hand, with red dripping from the wrist. On the back windshield, tinted super dark for effective drinking and smoking covertness, were the gold and black stick on letters spelling out S A N A N T O T E J A S.

Later that night, on the news, Eric Alva, the first man wounded in Iraq came out while talking on Capital Hill earlier in the day as also being the first GAY man wounded in Iraq. He's from San Anto.

It's like pan dulce here in this town - the frosting of glittery cars, the frosting of gay guys, the bling of a former mayor's wife running for public office. It smooths the edges of this rough town. It's enough to make a girl cry.