Something in the Middle

Something In the Middle CoverMy band uploaded a new song on our myspace page. It’s called Something In the Middle.

I can’t remember the details which lead to  Something In the Middle. Maybe it was a day when one of us was so beaten down, that we just spilled all of our guts out.  Because that’s what we do when we’re together, we spill everything out, everything that is trying to kill us. We sing louder, play harder, speak in tongues. We joke that our band practices are really therapy sessions.

Anyway, Something In the Middle is probably one of our most political songs (other than our very visible presence as women playing rock music) on our line-up.

Oh wait, it’s coming back to me now, how it all began. I was talking about the issues surrounding gay rights, and Hanna (bass player and vocalist), or maybe it was Maggie (lead guitarist and vocalist), made a scathing remark which lead to a beat, to a riff, to a refrain…

The recording is homemade, live at our studio. It’s not as polished as our previous recordings, but I’m digging the rawness.  We used this really handy recorder that fits right in your pocket,  Olympus LS10.

You can listen here: Something In the Middle

Something also reminded me of a poem I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

Yeah!

when tomorrow is just tomorrow

when we know that our phenomenal experience

isn’t as immediate as the phenomena expected

where Yeah exists.

I hope that these impressions stay with you

like the scars dealt to me for being open

as long as you live

I hope you live with just that amount of fear

living, breathing, preparing yourself for an attack

as you sit calmly with someone’s else’s blood on your shit: maybe it’s your own

wishing they were gone

as you sit and wait for Yes

to magically appear?

I’m still going to have Metal beating through me tomorrow

I’m still going to text my lover, I heart yous, and still be under-represented

infected with insanity, perversion, illegality

until I’ve been completely molded into something accustomed

I, continues, growing into a form

a persuasion for pettiness

and oh, I thank you God for my nose, eyes, and ears

because I couldn’t have reckoned without them

I couldn’t have survived this Love.

On WHFR

I read (out loud) two Sundays ago on WHFR, which was really exciting.  I haven’t read aloud…for years.

It reminded me about how important it is to hear the words you’re speaking, the importance of pronouncing your voice, the completely unstable voice. 

I met some really uplifting artists at WHFR.  It was like an arts commune that ranged from reading excerpts from novels and poetry manuscripts, playing live music, comedy, improv…   It was an apartment full of breath, full of buds ready to flourish in this time of uncertainty, a room filled with togetherness. 

I read 8 of my poems, and played a couple songs off my band’s full length (Love, Lust, Sci-fi & Monsters), and our self-titled EP (Telenovela Star). 

Here’s the list: BackSpaced, The Season, Mania, Architecture of “You”, Soucouyant and Loupgarou, Vampire from Telenovela Star’s Lust, Love, Sci-fi & Monsters album, Elma, My Imaginary Margin, Brown Girl In the Ring, A Plum from Telenovela Star’s self-titled EP.

Listen here:  Reading on WHFR

Live Reading

It’s weird how things happen. It was only a few weeks ago that Paul recommended I read some of my poetry, and then I was asked to read on whfr.org.

The program will be streaming live from 1-7pm this Sunday, November 9. If you miss it, I should have the mp3 soon to post.

Live music and readings. I’m on at 3:30pm. Check it out.

tcboyle_whfr

To Be Yourself?

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve been thinking about these bathroom incidents quite a lot, since, even before I understood what my undergrad Spanish professor meant when she asked me what sex I was.  I began thinking about it long before her awkard imposition.  I thought about it, not in the bathroom, but while I was filling out an awkward form, and I stumbled upon what box I should put an X against.   I was fourteen.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about how I could lessen the awkward introductions in the bathroom.  Awkward and jolting, a problem if only I would decide where my queer life could possibly project towards: should I finally decide to be feminine and wear some makeup, some accessories, should I become a man and have a sex change?  A direction, we’re all certain of.  Certainly, I won’t have people questioning my gender or insisting on where I should or shouldn’t be.  It would be clear cut, defined, no gray area to fear.  Especially in the bathroom, I can puke all this up in peace.  Because that’s all anyone wants when they take a piss, peace.

I am black, I am a black woman.  I am a black woman from the Caribbean, I am a black woman from the Caribbean, I am a black, Caribbean, gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, transgendered…  My rights as a human being; a consenting, existing human being has nothing to do with your bible, or what you foresee as your economic growth.  Your imagined entitlement!

And if yours and mine, Republican or Democrat, our leaders, that are so afraid of speaking the truth, so afraid of what it would cost their utopian display of a plastic image, a glass life that easily shatters after the first year that either one of them are in office, they don’t have to imagine for me: I am not afraid.  I’m not afraid of votes, battalions, or guns!

Bathroom Incident #5

It happened again. I went to the bathroom at my job, and this woman who I’ve seen around the office for as long as I’ve been working at this organization (5 years), questioned my place in the women’s bathroom. I’m quite sure that today wasn’t the first time that she’s seen me around, and even though the organization has been growing rapidly, and yes there’s always a new face every week, you would have to try really hard not to notice me for five years.

Anyway, bathroom incident #5 occured today at 10:00am.  I was combing my afro as she was coming in the bathroom, and she did a double take, to make sure that she was in the correct bathroom, then satisfied that yes, it is indeed the women’s bathroom, she asked, “Are you sure you are in the right place?” I was pretty much expecting her to say something after she did a double take, so I asked her, “Are you sure, you’re in the right place?” No response.

Mind you, there’s probably less than 40 people on my floor and the bathrooms are not open to the public. If you’re a visitor, you’d have to go through the receptionist first to even gain access into any of the offices. Basically, it’s very unlikely that I was a confused stranger using the bathrooms. And again, I have been working at this organization for 5 years. I’ve seen this woman around and she has seen me.

Bathroom Incident # 4 occurred last week Monday.  This guy, who I’m 100% certain has seen me around, because we’ve been on the elevator together, I’ve said hello to him and he has said hello to me. So really when I was walking into the women’s, and he was like, “That’s the women’s bathroom,” twice, he doesn’t have an excuse (at this point no one does) because he heard my voice, and quite frankly you’re just a complete dumbass if you’re still confused about my sex/gender after listening to my voice. You would be at least cautious of making any judgments aloud, and thus making a fool of yourself.

Bathroom Incident # 3 occurred in 2005.  The following remark was made when I entered the bathroom, “Now I know why this bathroom feels so masculine,” she said looking straight at me. There aren’t any urinals in the women’s bathroom at my job.  The lighting is state of the art in the bathroom.  However, it’s very cool in the women’s bathroom at my job, and at times “feels” to me pretty sterile. So maybe that was her reasoning behind those words, because I really don’t see how me using the women’s bathroom has suddenly changed the “feel” of it. Under my buttoned down skirt, I have breasts, and beneath my slacks and my underwear, is my pussy.

Bathroom Incident # 2 occurred in 2004. “This is the women’s bathroom. You’re in the women’s bathroom.” I said, “Do you want to come in here with me to check, to make sure?” No response.

Bathroom Incident # 1 occurred in 2003. Combatively, she said over and over again, “You are in the wrong place… You should know better than to use the women’s bathroom. You’re in the wrong place.” I was in complete shock, I didn’t know what to say to her, because I had only been working at the job for at most 3 months.

I work for a successful non-profit arts organization. Even though the workforce is fairly large for a non-profit, it’s not like a big conglomerate where you don’t know (at least by face) a fellow employee. You’d see each other on the elevator, at parties, at all staff meetings, etc. And since, I’ve been working there for the length of time mentioned above, I’m deeply disturbed and disappointed by all of this. Like everyone working full-time, I spend nearly all of my life at this job, and so I should never have to feel this way every time I use the bathroom.  No one should feel like this.

I’ve written about this issue before.  And I’m sure I’ll be writing about it again.

Moving

with purpose, prepare the boxes
with tape and cleansing powder
removal of all, small sparks of a glance
all that was suppose to resemble permanence
a long tale towards dementia, a small unpleasant trail
of spotted associations
split at the end with dots of potential use, or useless information
pile into a box, discard upon arrival
there’s no more space for their meaning
departing

OBJECT

OBJECT is one of my favorite NYC indie rock bands. I first met these guys back in 2006, when my band was sharing a bill with them for a DJ Mojo show at Trash bar. I was immediately moved by the amount of power and noise that this duo dished out. It restored this belief I’ve had, if you’re creative and talented enough, anything is possible. But of course, this was before I realized that creativity and talent doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the money to support the potential.

Since that night in July, 2006, my not so secret crush on Object has grown into a full blown obsession, so much so that both my lover and I have become familiar fixtures at an Object show. Well, not every show, but we did catch them at Crash Mansion this past Friday night. And they have excelled further, even as they played tunes from possibly their first EP.

After a listening session of Object’s latest album, Black Swan, a good friend of mine puts it well, “[Object] reminds me of a renovated, improved Soundgarden…” Honestly it took Soundgarden four players to invent and sustain such a swell of an all encompassing sound. Yeah you can argue that it’s all production, but if you’ve been to any of Object’s shows (even at the shittiesh venues in NYC), you’d become a believer, and think that there was never, ever a need for a second guitarist. If you didn’t know better, they’ll even trick you into thinking that having a bass player was unnecessary.

The immediate response is to compare them to the White Stripes. But even as a compliment, and as much as I like the White Stripes, this comparison just means you’ve been depending too much on pop culture for answers.

It’s like averaging an A grade against an A and C, making a B grade. Yes, indeed both the White Stripes and Object have a guy playing some incredible guitar, except Eric’s vocal range and control could quiet any emo boy’s crooning, and gals playing drums, but Maria’s fierce, complicated beats, can easily be one of the best, understated, drumming (male or female) out there in both the indie and mainstream scene.

Object’s music isn’t the tame lo-fi 80s carbon-copy that currently saturates the NYC scene. While most are opting for this easy way out, Object is progressively taking on what was left off from the grunge scene of the 90s.

In Black Swan, they take on these familiar comfort zones and win. They aren’t afraid of risking it. And it shows, particularly in a new song Disappear (not yet recorded, only available live). It’s clear that Object is fully aware of the trappings that comes from mastering a sound, a voice.

Check them out at their myspace page OBJECT.