Choice

So, I FaceTimed with an old friend, and we sort of had our very own writing session. We both wrote for an hour or so, based off a prompt. My prompt was, Where in your life are you willing to make a choice? This is what came out of it:

Choice

Today I will make the choice of choosing me
All of me from the top of my head
to the bottom of my feet

I will love my tattooed hands and long arms
helping me to freely write and play

I will love my globular head
holding my mind and thoughts
my gracious face which expresses my deepest wishes

I will love this magnificent body
It is the vessel which carries my soul

Today I will make the choice of choosing me
with all my past mistakes, as life is a journey
we can only live and learn

These mistakes were made to teach
new lessons about the world

Today I will make the choice of choosing me
which means I must love myself
which means I must forgive myself
which means I must find comfort
in the multitudes of selves that is me

I choose me
I choose me
as there is only one me in the world

Pink Moon

Tonight there is going to be a pink full moon. In preparation, these past couple nights the moon has been showing itself off with greatness. If you can, look up tonight.

Pink Moon

When I look up at you
amazed by your intensity
to vibrate and shine so unforgivingly
you are ineradicable for all whom
experience your many days and times away.
Quietly as your body moves around the earth
as I look up at you, slowly ruminating
breathing deeply for the root of purpose
the reason for having this life and what it
means; speaking becomes a form of silence
or a champion of howls like a werewolf
as you silhouette through the trees and
escape from the rooftops and high rise stories
Glorifying the sky with your magnitude.

Devastation

It was the warmest winter
It only snowed one day and it wasn’t a blizzard
like in past years. I guess climate change is
real but it won’t be really real until levees are
broken, diseases, viruses chases anyone and
everyone and the salvation of human life is on
the wealthy suffering from the same plaque.
Suddenly, the crisis is actual after all the dead
black and brown people surface with their
bodies to the rim of existence. Suddenly, we’re
all in it together when there’s no place to flee to.
Suddenly, we’re all human and needing the same
care in order to survive. Suddenly sudden isn’t
an after thought but proactive measures.

‪Lil BayBee TyGah: An Ode to my Cat

I have felt this before
a companion love, one
which makes you step out
yourself and have to care
for more than just you.

Remembering how it all began
hitherto, I stole a kitten
from a village of cats
because I wanted this
even as I didn’t wanna
be patient and see it through.

She is not mine anyways.

She is a spontaneous gift
who leaps across the floor
to the window where her gaze
of squirrels searching for acorns
gatherings of sparrows are a captivating display.

There is a game she likes to play where she
believes I’m chasing her and before she scurries away
she grunts what I assume is a tiny laugh of see
you can’t catch me, later.

She is a gift of 5:00am affection
as she licks my hands with her gravel tongue
and purrs and kneads the blankets until done.

Even as she is awful

she ruined my room!
All my small treasures
ripped and bitten to pieces.
Tiny immeasurable things now
that cannot be brought back

she is still beautifully kind.

Like when she decides:
I will kiss you now regardless!

I’ll kiss you right now!

Symbiosis

To be a black, non-binary, queer, immigrant is
to live many lives, as you see the world through a
multitude of lenses, encompassing a myriad of
lived experiences. The world is no longer fixed
in a box of a pair but an ever evolving
continuum of galaxies. Burning bright with
other ways of being. Burning bright with a
desire to live. Burning bright to explode as to
be seen and loved. Some days I resent
visibility, as countless of us didn’t make it, into
and out of, having to learn how to live through
this system of one or the other. But then I
won’t be there to feel their glorious splendor
as they shine so royal.

Rona Trip

At some point you have to re-up, and tomorrow I have to go outside for groceries and I’m really afraid. I feel like I’ll die if I step outside, like I will immediately have the virus. I know a lot of this is anxiety, but how careful can you be? I wrote about it of course. Hoping everyone is safe.

Rona Trip

Tomorrow, I’ll venture out of my home for
essentials. Normally this chore would just be a
labor of crowded spaces where you contort
your body to grab a bag of rice, cans of
beans, oil, meat, pasta sauce with spaghetti.
Now sharing any space leaves you wondering
scared how much feet did you leave between.
You feel like you would die if you step outside
greeting Spring’s air in the first place. Getting
close to another never felt more dangerous.
Social distancing is our Winter when we wish
and wonder about Summer as our time to
mingle free of layers, of separation, the time
when we shared apart.

Every Poem is an Existential Crisis

My younger brother has been visiting me in my dreams and it is both relieving and terrifying. I find relief knowing that he is still around but the fear present is a real terror. The experience has left me wondering if the reason he’s showed up is to warn me about something. He died unexpectedly, so did my mother, and they both have a presence in the dreams. My brother’s much more so. I wish I could translate my dreams.

Every Poem is an Existential Crisis

I wish I could translate my dreams from my
dreamscape, then maybe the fear won’t be as
transfix. Where lying still, I hear myself cry out
while in dual state: in the dream and waking
up from it: the terror that leads to worry about
impending doom once you’re aroused. Dreams
are important. They are messages missed
which you reflect on in meditative states.
Dreams are an experience into the other-side
of what you were exposed to in reality. Another
language to learn, another power to discover
and possess. While I know the imminent is
true, that dying is inevitable, I wonder how
much of my dreams are a harbinger of what I
already know but not quite recognized.

Soft

This was a hard one. It took days to realize what I wanted to say, and in the form of a sonnet. I still didn’t follow the rules, but I’m slowly getting there.

Soft

As gentle as an embrace, tender as in the
tenor of a song. Delicate as the eagerness of
blooming flowers. We can reciprocate care
especially in times of extreme social isolation.
We always had it in us to express comfort in
this place where living has made you tough
and reject the gift of closeness. As so much
separates us, there are offerings of solicitude.
As mutual aid is the buoy for our times.
Leveling a compassion we seek. As wanting to
trust while staring back an abyss becomes a
meandering of the past where you can no
longer live. Tomorrow it maybe will be different,
but today I dance with songs of embrace, with all the flowers.

 

Meteorite

To survive these uncertain days
like the times when the earth reigns
and being without shelter from the starkness
of nature and you walked for hours in its cold
downpour wondering when it would stop and
you’ll see the sun again. Like the times the
quiet snow kept collecting into a mountainside
of slush you’d trudge through with cold feet
and hands tethered to a memory/thought
of when it was once warm. When it would be
warm again. I tell myself that these days are
the same as those days of trepidation. And
soon you’d laugh again, you will so loudly
that you weep new lessons on survival.

Strange

As a way of maintaining my mental health during this scary time, I wrote another reaction poem about the virus. I was attempting to write a sonnet but it ended up being free verse. Next time, as I really want to write something outside of my comfort zone.

Strange

Afraid to touch an extended hand
a reach for some sameness, while touch can
be a compassion, a sense for being in a sea of
unknowns. How to navigate through the dark?
How do you survive the sickness from touch
too close to where comfort becomes lost?
You wash your hands so much they peel
new information of an already coarse design

Raccoon Hands

My anxiety is up because of the coronavirus. I’ve been using hand sanitizers more frequently than I usually do, and I wonder about the long-run repercussions. I mean like I’m using it after touching anything. It’s based out of the fear of getting sick and being unable to work, which would mean being incapable of surviving. I’m trying my best to not fall into hysteria, so here’s a poem about it.

Raccoon Hands

Feel for my wallet
pull out my metro card
slide it through
walk in the train
hold the pole
Don’t touch your face
Don’t touch your face
hand sanitizer my hands
running low on sanitizers
must ration until home
little drops on palm, rub hands together
Was that enough? Can’t risk it
more little drops, rub hands together
this is my stop
walk up stairs
don’t touch the railing
even if you need extra support
get to the exit
don’t hold the door
outside, put hands in pockets
walk for a bit
then touch the front door
home, go wash your hands

Cloudburst

This Winter has been so mild and warm. I’m not complaining, but it’s definitely something I’ve felt a way about. On the one hand I like that it is, but then I think about the consequences on an ecosystem scale. It’s very scary that the only time it snowed in NYC it wasn’t even a thing. Anyway, last night, however brief, it was raining kind of hard and I really like the sound of rain, so I wrote this.

Cloudburst
the sound of rain
the sound of a full and good storm
coming down like a long deep laugh
throbbing throughout the whole body
making tears brim from your eyes
like a good long cry, you weep aloud
heaving out the heart’s heaviness
many gasps and sighs like the what
the wind makes wailing through fissures
carrying precipitation – making puddles
of unfiltered wanderings. In the end
dampening these sidewalks with glints

BLINKER

It is great to have fantasy. Fantasy is a part of why we continue. Why we survive… A carrot drives the blinker horse.

 

A SLANT…

 

Doctor Vacuum, pronounced – /vaˈko͞on/, escorts Dodo out of the emergency area and into a private room, and invites Dodo to sit on a hard plastic white chair. In the small, cold white, room, there is a stainless steel sink. It has dingy white cabinets with pockets full of latexed hands, mosquito needles… A biohazard container stands next to it. The only exit is the door which they have entered. Through the windowless room’s narrow passage, Dodo sits on the opposite side of its entry. The fluorescent light illuminates the white walls into a sharp humming. Dodo, dulled with panic, quivers, as Dodo’s royal blue feathers are now poisoned, and have turned faint violet. Dodo’s own excreting adrenaline makes them incapable of ruffling their feathers.

 

The room helps Doctor Vacuum organize a sense of controlled calm, as they curtsies with name, title: I am Doctor Vacuum.  Then smiles through the eruption of a hidden volcano. Flushed by all that is existing outside the door, with the business of outside that is loud with radicals – they gravitate towards the fluorescent beam. A swarm that reaches for anything that lights a way out.

 

Dodo *pretend smiles* – I am ok with everything. Doctor Vacuum *pretend smiles* – I am reasonable. I can figure out what is needed. They both try to fool each other in this place. In this room which encourages/enables the worst that can happen, as it is not for any one. But still…

 

Doctor Vacuum: I met with Doctor Don Dada Dah!. Doctor Don Dada Dah! said you were non-communicative.

Dodo: I do not know Doctor Don Dada Dah!.

 

This is true. For Dodo, Doctor Don Dada Dah! seemed too busy, rushing towards something very urgent, while nothing had happened. No urgent code warnings were announced. There were no alarms. Yet, Doctor Don Dada Dah!’s light pace was at a speed which demanded attention, as he float walked through the waiting area, always with what appeared as a date book, a green date book, held onto tightly. Dodo noticed him the most, because Dodo saw he was not the others, and he also was not like them: the ones who oversaw the others. He was not the ones who made sure the others were in line to be seen. He was not the ones whom were assigned to see the others. In fact, he was not assigned to an other. No, Doctor Don Dada Dah!’s role was greater, since Doctor Don Dada Dah’s brisk light steps suggested, he was not to be seen, or his presence made aware of by the others. At this place, his role was to be invisible.

 

It was coincidence, as randomly seeing 1111 on a digital device, that Doctor Don Dada Dah! sat in on Dodo’s session. Dodo was made aware that Doctor Don Dada Dah! is a believer, as he felt so sure about his faith, that he felt as part of his service as both a believer and doctor, he felt certained Dodo just needed to believe. To believe, to believe, to believe. Doctor Don Dada Dah!’s desire to share with Dodo comes from his assumption that Dodo’s lack of faith surrounds being lost. You are a lost one. Only lost because possibly, Dodo’s openness suggests ignorance? Where, belonging is not of a design? A design to dismantle? Because belonging had been ransacked? 

 

Dodo became skeptical, and could not respond to Doctor Don Dada Dah!’s questions. Irritated, Doctor Don Dada Dah! labelled Dodo unfit, and to be sent to emergency.

 

Doctor Don Dada Dah!: I will pray for you. 

 

As Dodo was being taken away, Dodo felt Doctor Don Dada!’s remark of – I will pray for you – within a regard of what may be, had been, kindness. From a belief? Dodo thought it was just as unbelievable, but still literal, as being physically prayed upon by another Don. Don, Doctor In Your Insurance Network Dah! whose practice is at their home, where you are greeted by their happy dog, and their happy dog poop in the examination room.

 

Doctor DIYIN Dah!: Dear Lord, please let Dodo see the poor choices made can be forgiven. And that they find you, and make better choices…

 

Dodo squirmed: “Poor choices”…? The want to live is definitely a “poor choice.” Is it over? Can you let go of my wing? As Doctor DIYIN Dah! prayed some more, sticking a mosquito into Dodo at a perceived, precise moment.

 

Doctor Vacuum (pronounced – /vaˈko͞on/): What is your fantasy?

Dodo: I do not have one. 

Doctor Vacuum: Why?

Dodo: I can no longer walk. If I cannot walk, I cannot fly.

 

Dodo no longer possessed the magic, the magical power to dream the impossible. The dream of flying. Soaring through the skies of misty mornings. Hot, lethargic, early afternoons could never be relieved by the cool of evenings. These evenings could never be exalted by the wild wicked nights. Dodo could not dream, because they took Dodo’s bright yellow shoes. Dodo would never leave this room.

 

Through the thickness of this fog, while my inside begs my feathers to ruffle; begs for my neck to carry my head through polyrhythmic objection; a voice softly shouts:You need to find your people.”  The dancing erupted immediately after.

 

Peacocks, with graced steps, peek before revealing their extravagance, as Quails, feeling the heat, rhythmically puff their feathers while they perform their circular dust dance on the available earth, as the Ravens sit silently still, with the occasional methodological stretches of the neck, occasional sharpening of the beaks, pecking…

 

I then thought, the soft shout, might/must not be “my people”? Because why…? May be I am like Jesus, searching for followers?

 

What would “my people” look like? Would they be a mirror? May be my people are my people whom begs me for food, that I do not have for myself. May be my people are my people whom have stopped dreaming, and just work, even harder: better/work/harder so they too can/so they can just die living/at some point they may have dreamed so much further for themselves/that they were forced out/they were called vicious/dangerous crabs in a bucket/while crabs do not exist well in buckets/crabs were not meant to be placed in buckets/buckets are not a place of dwelling/existing…

 

So they came here.

Like the outcasted pilgrims? 

So, the pilgrims are Jesus? 

Because what does this mean? 

My People? 

 

Does it mean I am as filthy 

with this beast beat of perpetual living? 

Made sick with violent tremors, ill-formed, mental, diseased, a monstrosity to look at

Dirty, just like “them”…?

 

Of course I am 

just as filthy, just as dirty

even as “they” themselves

do not want me

because they too 

cannot help it.

 

Dirty like them as with everything 

leaking, exuding, which oozes out

that this word of dirty exudes

announces with the amazing great disdain

 

I hope so…

 

TOURIST

 

I felt the importance of this pulse – What is poetry? An importance I have somehow forgotten, or maybe I just began taking it for granted? When poetry is the first, and if at all, of any tradition I seek as a refuge. 

 

As this question now stopped me in my repetitive trap, my mind wonders about… Like a tourist, in a new place wanders, the insistent need for answers for the million other questions which were mistaken, missed… They are all relevant. Well, what is life? What does it mean to be alive, living as a human being? What does it mean to be human in this time when most of us are barely even making it, and thankful for the crumbs (symbols of hope) that is helping us along this trap of barely making it living?  What is dignity? What does dignity have to do with being human, life or living?

 

The reason I have ignored these questions is simple, who has time to wonder these days. If you wander too far and for too long, you most likely will be killed. An example of this loss of wonder, and the reason for its pervasive lacking is similar to the ending scene from All Quiet on the Western Front. The soldier, Paul Bäumer, stops his routine as he sees a butterfly in a battered naked tree. Surprised by the butterfly’s presence in this wasteland, Paul for a second stops his defensive anticipation of the enemy’s attack, and begins to reach for the butterfly. Forgetting the enemy’s presence, from the safety of his hunched position; Paul rises, stands unhindered, and exposes himself.  He is then shot by a sniper.

 

Perhaps it was madness which enticed a frantic pursuit so early in the morning, as I searched through my bookshelves for one of my college textbooks, Perrine’s Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry, or maybe it is that I have been so starved and disconnected. I remember Perrine’s definition for poetry having a significant value: “…something central to existence, something having unique value to the fully realized life, something that we are better off for having and without which we are spiritually impoverished.”

 

Poetry is our umbilical cord to understanding what it means to be alive? “…a universal language that says more and says it more intensely. Poetry acts as an agency that brings us closer to a sense and a perception of life that widens and sharpens our contact with existence, increasing the intensity of our range of experiences. Poetry enlarges our perspectives and breaks down some of the limits we may feel.” This description gives the impression that we are absentmindedly incapable of ‘truly’ connecting to ourselves, or our surroundings, without the aid of instruments, agencies… Which brings me to dignity.  

 

I may have been stuck, obsessing over this word… Dignity. I wanted a definition, its etymology if possible. 

dig·ni·ty [ dígnətee ] (plural dig·ni·ties) noun

Definition:

  1. self-respect: a proper sense of pride and self-respect
  2. seriousness in behavior: seriousness, respectfulness, or formality in somebody’s behavior and bearing
  3. worthiness: the condition of being worthy of respect, esteem, or honor
  4. due respect: the respect or honor that a high rank or position should be shown
  5. high office: a high rank, position, or honor

[12th century. Via French< Latin dignitas< dignus “worthy”]

 

It was difficult to digest this absolute for such a word: Dignity. There was a discomforting mistrust of both my wanting of this definition and accepting it as something that is “universal,” while it is completely non-universal, non-satisfying, but yet satisfying? Its unspoken truthfulness is as messy and disgusting as my pieced together nothingness: living life beyond the entrapment of survival, fear of entrapment, fear of dying, death, or expulsion… Doesn’t it sound lovely utopian, satisfying with its seemingly reasonable to believe? Especially when we have evolved to a moment where survival is not the only element to life/living?  I still would like to believe poetry brings us out of this state of entrapment, and closer to dignity. Which reminded me of a tribute poem for my goat.

 

For my tenth birthday, my grandfather gave me a goat. I named her Elma. Elma had green piercing defiance shining from her eyes.  She also had a spoken lame leg. You could not really tell if the leg was lame, because Elma still did what every other goat did. I was really fascinated with Elma’s horns, and I often tried to hold on to them. One day, Elma put me in my place by breaking free her horns from my grip, and she then butted me in the ass. She was eventually taken. There was a huge hole in the back-yard’s fence where she grazed.  For many days we looked, thinking the thief or thieves lived in our neighborhood. But she was gone. We assumed she was killed for her meat.

 

As I wrote the tribute poem, I imagined what Elma looked like as she was about to be slaughtered.  All I could see was her green piercing defiance.

 

Elma 

If what she says is true

being is to be wretched

with fences

outwitting what’s coming

like vermin in hiding

dingy corners

keeping time to the purring

every night from everyday

late as sunrise praying

to outlast these insomniac twilights.

Being wretched as a mule

skinning her teeth to every muse

sucking on someone else’s

perversion

chasing it all down

with leave-meh-somes

somes liquor for later.

If what she says is true

I’ll be waiting for Orion

grazing on the green

chewing to one side

androgynous

as a pregnant goat’s

lazy eyes

daring slaughter.

 

I AM, ALIVE…

 

When surviving becomes a forced repetitive spectacle – a state of waking up to be broken – I am reminded of a lot of things. Like, what it must have meant to exist in an environment which is being “nature” circa prehistory. It is devastatingly frigid. It is devastatingly hot. If at all, there is hardly any food.

 

What I am mostly reminded of, because we have survived adapting to “nature” and possibly believe we can manipulate it, I am reminded of a Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode where the spiritual leader of Bajor, Kai Opaka, travels with Commander Sisko on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant. 

 

They encounter a world where the dead resurrect only to continue in a life where their bodies and minds are actively engaged in warfare. Their warfare is outside of the depiction of “nature’s” dismal gray look of edges: a big rock to hide behind so the “enemy’s” response does not zap, vaporize, evaporate, neutralize, fry, kill your insides dead, with deadly laser rays. 

 

I often mouth for these characters, letting them know, to be aware, there are known options to end this game. That, all that is needed, is to be asked, “Can I watch you suffer?”  Because the idea of “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice,” it meets in a similar discourse of, “How to Handle a Bully?” Because I know what to do: buy a gun, load it, and hand it to them, so they can shoot me in the stomach, and watch me bleed and cry out… Because that is “nature” too. But so many of us are supposedly incapable of such an act; even while we think, wish, watch; participate in this collectivism. When exactly, it is how it is, that suffering is your choice when the “cards” which you are dealt means you must be shot in the stomach? Yeah, I have accepted and survived it… May be I should not have survived?

 

Formed of a Single Large Block of Stone: Caliban’s Silent Rant

 

Why are they praying for me? Who are they to be praying to whom? Why should their prayers, these sounds of gravelling being manifested into and as a resolve, be these things I receive? I do not believe in prayer, in worlds, in nothing! Something which is a known, real, existing jackhammer. Decorated as, but still made up, AS, jingleS/nursery rhymeS, switcheS everything off? There has never been any comfort in prayer for me. I have tried it, but the thing just laughs and reminds me of how, where, these prays first existed. This soothing solace found in prayer still has not resolved anything, absolutely nothing! Unless of course we are all, all of us are, existing in prehistory “nature.” Stephano’s presence, revelation, relevance, is always, always real. Meaningfully real especially when Stephano is facing or close to, most closely facing death. Why is that, and why is that a gift? When, honestly, Stephano has a lot to explain. If said god, Stephano, is beyond explanations and is unscathed, and reeks of such brighter and beyondness, there still needs to be literacy in such greatness outside of the act of chosen. Was I not following the right kind of god, Prospero? May be I need to think differently about how exactly god works, and would appear as a solace, a remedy, a great epic calm for all my unexplained experiences. Because, why not? I must want to be saved? From what exactly? We do not know, but still assume in accept. I wonder a lot about how does my existing reality covets with this comfort of self interest… Even as it exist now, is it a labor? I wonder what can be learnt from this “radical” realm, which just seems to accommodate what it “radically” opposes in its opposition? How exactly is it “radical” to believe in anything that is different from an opposition which is in power? Maybe we should consider the science of magnets? But my existence is not of magnets, right? Prospero?

 

iNCONGRUENT hORNS
The word “radical” and its widespread usage and thought really bothers me. There is nothing radical about exposing a premise for its shit, that has been consistently been challenged, and has been shown that the existing argument (premise) to be shit. If not hateful, if not just completely ridiculous … How is it radical then, when it is known that the well implanted whatever (shit), which brought this product (premise, shit) is exclusive and has been dismantled in thought (solely, but continues as a prosit… Infinity!), demonstrated that the previous way was an array of how useless the “scheme” was/is to begin with?

Am I an item?

May be radical is synonymous to what a grunt would mean, like branding a FB or whatever social media post with radicalism? And even then, the question is whose grunt gets to be synonymous syntactically, and in the patterns of an invariant (both as a constant and a supposed anomalous reaction)?  The young, the not so young, the dead? Even though it is catchy to say and attach “radical” or any other word that has not been manipulated into the wider world of catchy flavor? May be, “attacking previous shit” is a better branding/label thought on how reactionary human behavior is, and how much shit we have to account for, being “human, humanistic!” throughout history (some only recently joined the bandwagon group, and are now supposedly recognized as “human”)?

May be the word “discovery” is more useful as a word for such circumstances? Less catchy (likely, honest? An open air that discovery founds and may involve “I” since it already exist), but more relative and with more crunch!

 

But, I must remember the fabric which brought these certainties together:

 

RIGHT HERE, FOR YOU!

It was in Professor Snotz’s class, where I realized exactly my place. My tidied, pitied rebellion not only made me exceptional, but also so cute! Professor Snotz’s buying into it was heavily based on not, but he was equally as dramatic, as his thoughtlessness, but yet thoughtful effect in demonstrating wherewithal – an orchestration –  led to certained embarrassments for the future.

 

By the time I was told about the Quilt, I was still incapable of understanding its fabric. The fabric in which it was being bestrewed. It was still unfurling, as I watched it create… Repeat again, and again…

 

When I realized how much its immediate bright sensory, its patches, made complete ideas, as its layering for destiny had already disallowed the existence of anything outside its threaded needled path; I was made reminded of how exactly the stars could have been different on whichever night where, when, the powers that be recognized how much I needed to live in the various forms of this existence. 

 

But yet, and yet… 

 

Being alive enough to hail a cab distorts. It creates a particular dysfunction, even if we all have microbes, fungi: You actually can be outside of a particular realm for leper? Then, how can you examine the “radical?” All that is radically outside?

 

It began there. As a germ/virus/bacteria. Enough for organisms to cultivate around being defined. So by definition, being thought as a thief, not smart enough, a sexual predator, etcetera… Being called a “slave” is most acceptable amongst everyone existing in my mind, and also most especially acceptable by a cabby driver. 

 

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED: The initial stop was for my hail. While slowing down, cabby changed his mind, because the realized competition now existed. As a white couple, running with their outreached hands, appears. What do you do as a Cabby with such a predicament? Not to say who shall win, but it certainly was not I (Othello), nor even We (The Moors), as I am sure if the competition was based solely on knowing who would or could win in a Shakespearean tale, for a particular, then certainly the favorite group wins. Crowd Applause, as the fool with the best longest grimace appears and, laughs.

 

What I am mostly, just… I dunno… How exactly does this make anything better?

 

I think about ‘better’ as a birdsong, a signal from the other birds who are not here with me, but definitely do exist in another way. 

 

Better,

Better, 

Better,

Better fly now, 

Better,

Better, Better… Hey, hey, hey, we should be careful here, this dude is a REAL dude with wings. He does not even have the patterns correct. He sings slave versus enslaved.

 

There is a distinctive meaning between the two words. One is open ended and vague, almost like it suggests that you chose it, but the other involves a much greater effort of action, and most undeniably points a finger to who did what and why. However, slave is more commonly used. It is understandable. Because then you would have to feel the uneasiness rising from your stomach. You would have to embrace and accept that this happened and that the taste of it is so wretchedly awful. You can’t embrace what is directly linked to you if you can avoid being linked to its atrocity. Especially when it did occur, it happened, and all for a dollar! 

 

But, BETTER!

Better,

Better, 

Better,

Better fly now, 

Better!

 

Outside of cabby driver’s personal understanding (which I then created a narrative around, because I needed to understand his actions!), he is an exact Human. Such as humans are the only animals who exact revenge as a debaser’s decree for all types of  ideological thinking, as to explain why we should treat people the way we do. And then the most best thing happened. From behind me, I heard, “Nature is not afraid of you. But, do you. Keep doing you.” As I turned to see the mystery, a Dodo bird appeared to be waddling away.

 

DODO, DON’T GO!

Like the sky

Like the sea

The land is an exposure 

for all that is we

earth, wind, fire, water

all that is not the same

all that is excitement

all that is.

 

My Dodo bird bids me ado

the land been made for just a few

nobody wants to see

ugly Dodo bird’s 

bright yellow shoes.

 

As while Sky says there is so much room…

Even clouds can float idle, 

lingering with their thoughts

as swallows migrate for another season.

Even at night, 

as while dead stars present their best shines

the moon ignores them of course

an owl comes visits, or may be a sparrow.

Planets aways still arrives, 

awares us of their brilliance

their light-up explodes with screeching streaks  

furlong begets decades – a comet’s tail leaks

a zaffre mist.

As while Sea has kelp forests 

with shades of green for Brittle Stars

For Otters somersaults, 

for songs from Grey Whales.

 

There is room my imaginary Dodo bird.

There is room for your fearlessness.

There has always been.

 

Like the sky

Like the sea

The land is an exposure 

for all that is we

earth, wind, fire, water

all that is not the same

all that is excitement

all that is.

 

Revenge, yes, because I did not understand what he was saying to me. I hailed a cab. Cabby stops for me, but then says he stopped for white people. I felt I needed to demonstrate my worth, and says to cabby, “I’m going to report you!”

 

I was conjuring someone else. I was imagining what my sister would have done, when it is very possible she would not have experienced this, at least not in this exact way. But, I was imagining love, and what that all means. I was embodying my sister’s notorious fiery tongue, an indubitable grit, which seems capable of cutting even Goliath’s might down. Where as I, the real me, would stare. Suddenly I’m not even aware anymore of what’s being said. I stopped listening. And all I can hear is laughter… I cannot say how, or when I began doing this, and sometimes I wonder if I am just absorbing war.

 

My sister has a more direct approach. I consider this approach to be fueled/motivated by a lot of things, more particularly, she is a scientist, and there is not any room for coloring outside the margins. She is also an incredible thinker. When we have our time together, not only am I amazed by her clarity, but also how well she understands most narratives… It is, all at the same time, a cut that could destroy you, and is completely stimulating, because I am suddenly not listening in a bodied response to what it is exactly someone wants to see, nor do I have to compete with anything. It is exhausting, because we did not have the same experience growing up. I do not know all of it. All I remember is my sister being a genius. She did not have the same experience as I, where she was ever thought of as stupid or dumb. Yes, my sister is incredibly brilliant, and I sometimes fall for the tempting grading scale that she is way more brilliant than I am, but then I remember our shit. I also think about why our shit is the way it is.

Going back – my sister has a direct approach… While we sit in her favorite place for discussing issues, a Starbucks in suburbia (the irony of this was too good to not include) and she perused through her favorite form of technocratic media (The New York Times) and as I do the same (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, The Internet!): paper versus iPhone, she dropped on me what most people seem to not understand: “I do not cloud my experience, because you do not know my experience. You have not been through my experience. I am from another country, so I do not have your shit clouding my mind… So yes, I will act this way.” What I heard and always have, continuously, is that my sister will excel and do, regardless of anyone.

 

Cabby gets out of cab, and orders me to report him, because he does not care.

 

“You are a slave!” — Cabby says.

 

I was disturbed, because he is not a white man. The shame I felt by being miscast as slave versus descendant of enslaved. My usage of ‘miscast’ is an attempt to laugh at myself, even as I am very aware how deeply painful it is to be locked in an identity which is not yours. But, I am also an ass of this behavior. He is always, “Cabby.”

 

Even as innocently mindless as it seemed and was, when I misgendered my roommate, I immediately felt the pangs of strangeness I forced upon this person. It is a strangeness that is unwelcoming and unbelonging. It is a strangeness for separation, which then added further injury, because Cabby was not white, nor a white European. He is African and black, which made me wonder why the fuck this exact Human ass preyed with these particular words? I was expecting him to understand, because he is African and black. I definitely did not understand the depths of imposed strangeness.

 

I then ate all of his food, market size, unseasoned, sold to whomever can get it… I ate all of it! Like everyone else!

 

Tu-Bouli: Biggest Killer Rat, Ever!

 

Bouli, Bouli, Bouli
can’t you see
you’re the seasoning

ready for me.

 

I can make your porridge 

taste real good 
with my flavor 

changed your price

on everything.

 

Take that!

 

Nothing left?

Dice me some cabbage 

with its potatoes

squeeze some lemons

be like aha!

 

Nigger.

 

A SEEMINGLY BENIGN THOUGHT OVERHEARD, AND A BUS RIDE.

 

It was the year of 2004 when a friend thought the wisest way to end what appeared to be the beginning of the end of sensibilities involved all the “old people” being dead. It was an election year, so that in itself may have hindered any sense from the person I listened to say this so courageously. This seemingly benign thought happened again, also in an election year, but this time I overheard it on social media, and it included a forecasted remedy for the future end of racism: biracial people. It reminded me of an experience my sister’s partner and my niece survived at the optometrist’s.

 

Optometrist: How old is she? {referring to my niece}

My niece’s dad: 18 months.

Optometrist: How long have you had her?
My niece’s dad: 18 months.

Optometrist: Oh, so you had her since birth?

My niece’s dad: Yes.

 

What the optometrist could not, and did not want to believe, even as it was told to him several times, my niece’s white dad is indeed her “real” father.

My sister thought the entire exchange and its “real” implications to be incredibly funny. Normally, I would be the first to exhale in laughter, but I guess it is my niece, and as much as I am aware that this level of stupidity will happen quite often as my niece gets older, I was not expecting it this soon. I felt there were still a few more months before the bullshit began to roll in. But hey, why not right now? Trump like Bush Jr. became President, and is making America Great Again!

My sister, laughing at what I know she fears is only just the beginning of what most definitely will become worse in its severity, encouraged more laughter, as she told me what she narrated as the optometrist’s re-telling of the experience to whomever in his life.

Optometrist: Honey, the guy adopted a black kid!

As funny/unfunny as this is, he probably forgot about the whole thing. As he may have felt nothing was strange about the experience. He may not even be aware of how his freedom of speech affected my niece and her dad. If he was, he may feel like it is more important, more valuable, than whose feelings are hurt, or even, if we want to explore a slippery slope position, how this preservation of free speech which hurts, validates a framework which complicity sits on assumptions with no backing evidence. But since it is just feelings, we can ignore its damage, even as it is evidently so dangerous that one’s free speech can incite others to perform physical harm. A lot of dead people are dead because of this preservation. This slippery slope position/thought which at a base level suggests that we are stupid, as we are incapable of understanding that this is fear, and this right, that is feared of being lost has and continues to destroy lives. 

 

I recently experienced a neatly packaged backlash extreme of why free speech is necessary through the film, The Giver. Where to sustain any sort of order, there cannot be any people of color, there cannot be any color at all… Because, difference disturbs the dynamic which is not created by a God, but by people, and people in control of harmful power systems which was created by people!

 

There is that talk too. That talk of How long have you had her talk. I immediately saw my niece as some kind of, I dunno, may be a hulking machine motorcycle which just roars — I am a hulking machine!!!!–, or a bitching fast car which makes you think you’re winning, and then, suddenly, you lose because– she is a bitching fast temptress car that tricks you or something… Or, my niece could be, some really nice earrings. A pair of expensive earrings (pleasant and tasteful) or a pretty brooch which, when worn with the correct colored pieces of cloth, shines immensely. Since most of these things correspond with such a talk of possession. Would not this dynamic make you incredibly disgusted, angry, mad…?

 

Based on historical evidence, and their direct provocations from well long standing systems, the existence of multiracial people, nor the genocide of a generation of people can and has never purged a system grounded, steeped in hating people, or making them your “inferior”. If anything, the existence of love is made more unbelievable or possibly a commodity? Worst, a fetish?! None of this has worked as reasonable resolves, but yet, this continuous mantra is completely Human: Wipe out the old people! Biracial people are the future!

 

The bus was crowded, and a woman was going on about, “Everything means something.” That, “You might be ok now, but God is watching, and can take it all away.” I immediately said to her, telepathically, “God sounds incredibly petty, like everyone whom has ever and is existing: HUMANS, you know?” And then I thought about her messages, because she was saying something I know: “You look at that person with scorn, but that can be you.” I added in thought: Outside of the decorum of God base teachings, and whatever else which rules in and out the indoctrination into society, we still do not know how to be with each other. So, even God does not matter?

 

I believe in science to the extent where there is none subjective human involvement (completely impossible?) recording it, and being a witness outside God like narrating, or how what we have created as humans for ourselves have been outside of science and is politically isolated, oriented and with a history — what is good for you? For everyone? As that paradigmatic seeks only its own historical fantasy? Maybe it will continue with great algorithmic force in the future? Everything which holds “true” is always worth reexamination.

 

CORRESPONDENT TO DOCTOR VACUUM (pronounced: /vaˈko͞on/)

 

Doctor Vacuum,

 

The session where you asked if I believed you all care, the reason this question now irritates me beyond my weird awkwardness of recognizing when someone cares is that, I am wondering, how can you, really? Like really? How can you? Since it seems almost impossible to map care/caring – as it appears to be transitory; most, if not all times, one-sided… May be it is my narrow understanding of care/caring being long, fucking messy, disconcerting, painful… There are no real incentives to support this side of willingly taking on such an incredibly draining act. I can’t help but consider it in terms of a much larger perspective, as the current state of the health care system (not even considering mental health) blatantly suggests, without incentives in place, you are fucked and no one cares. Yeah, there are steps being made to change this, but I seriously doubt these changes are going to reach and therefore help as many of us anytime soon. We are still going to suffer, and as it is recommended, we should try to lessen the suffering.

 

We began obsessing about building robots. Yeah, the chilling compassion of a cyborg’s algorithms would probably be best. A cyborg does not need an incentive. While as a real likelihood of cyborgs being YOU, if we were even technically trained to build robots, we could not realistically afford to buy the parts. And then we thought about the saying, beggars can’t be choosers. We should be thankful. When what we should be thankful for is somewhat not really helping anyone move forward? Perhaps we should simply be thankful for the facade: the continuous possibility, the continuous potential that sort of never happens. The facade looks fantastic!

 

The analogy of human social society in terms of a herd of wild horses came up somewhere… As in, if the leader of a herd is challenged and the challenger or leader, while exerting their strength, wins or loses, the order is accepted, and either horse consents its role. People are not wild horses, though. We can indulge in the thought: our predicaments decides our status which proves, yes, we are not wild horses (just in case it wasn’t already clear), and how incredibly limiting this analogy is; even if horses share in the same social behaviorism of preferring to live in groups. But, if we are to accept these conditions, as in we should just accept all of *this*, then the idea of competition should allow for and lead towards a reward. 

 

It is obvious, I’m not going to win (whatever “win” means). Even as these “rewards” set out as VICTORY! is not even what I desire/want/need?

 

May be I should be a horse, a wild horse? But then we would not be a unicorn: mythical, a metaphor, a poem, a statistic? Abounding with so much romanticism, I can’t help but feel the stifling intoxication of my domesticated, but wild feathers melting. 

 

What is clear however: the lack of status – which predicates status – affects care, affects every facet of living beyond survival (less suffering); because as basic physics suggests: We are not living in a vacuum. Unless you are the bubble boy?

 

Dodo

 

Black Unicorn

With lightning speed

ripping through infinity

I hear your clacking hooves

Your cursed truth

charging ivory horn

chasing your prophecy 

Your heaving mist

attacks the air

Your feral mane

Tremors in grace

I see your red demon eyes 

ignite for the horizon

Black Unicorn

 

SCENE

 

In the balcony up there where what leads to nowhere road, there, they sit staring, waiting for the next move. Jasper Tressa, a Narwhalian Mammoth, is the chattier of the twins. 

 

Jasper Tressa begins: Well, I must endeavor to say, Oh, yes. Dey has certainly made it. Wouldn’t you say so dear fellow?

 

Aloof, Arturo the Haunted — A, Belugain Rhinopous — turns his beluga head away as so the exhale of dead cells does not perverse the scene.

 

Arturo the Haunted: Ah. I suppose… Dey is conscious of necrosis…

Jasper Tressa: Necrosis, sir?

 

Arturo the Haunted: The process after the needle is stuck into them. 

 

Jasper Tressa: Right…? Dey must still believe in radical?

 

Arturo the Haunted: Perhaps…

 

Jasper Tressa: …?

 

Arturo the Haunted: What are you asking, DEAR FELLOW, that you do not already perceive to know!?

 

Jasper Tressa: Yes…? Of course… Indeed. Dey is aware of radical Dear Sir!, that nothing about radical goes beyond survival as much as the awareness of the impossibility of the needle never occurring. That this form of radicalness is of demanded fear of death. Radical does not exist here, as this pattern is a form set towards survival. Even as what continues to pulsates here and nowhere else has little to do with: How is it radical?

 

Jasper Tressa continues: But Ha… Mmm, you got me old faggot. What the suckcocksuck?

 

Arturo the Haunted: Do you remember the happening on Monday, January 23rd, 2005 at precisely 6:15pm?

 

Jasper Tressa: Yes, I do. Dey was preparing for class, and deliciously delivered a decisive retort to a well meaning, she. I remember it quite fondly, as it was such a remarkable moment.

 

Arturo the Haunted: YES. Do you remember how we skipped away delightfully together?


Jasper Tressa: It was so delicious. I felt I could have eaten you!

 

END SCENE

 

‘Well meaning, she.’ observed Dey in the University’s courtyard lighting a cigarette. The exchange began with an assumption:

 

“How old are you, Dey?” ‘Well meaning, she.’ 

“Twenty-four.” Dey.

“You know, if you stop smoking now, by the time you’re fifty, you can still live a long life.” ‘Well meaning, she.’

“May be I don’t want to live to fifty.” Dey said, flicking the cigarette with angsting leave.

What Jasper Tressa and Arturo the Haunted refused to remember was Dey’s reasoning in their response to ‘Well meaning, she.’

Before the scene in the University’s courtyard, Dey was already annoyed by ‘Well meaning, she.’. The class which they both attended (Professor Snotz’s) was where all the animosity began, as Dey was indirectly called a liar by ‘Well meaning, she.’

 

“I think it is unrealistic a firefighter could act in this way. I just cannot believe a firefighter, a firefighter could hurt anyone. Come on. He is a firefighter.” – ‘Well Meaning, she.’

 

May be your suspension of belief around how even as a firefighter–someone–a person–can still be a human being: capable of everything… May be your suspension of belief cultivates the impossible, when all which seems impossible is possible to me.  Dey rambled under their breath. No one heard. 

Dey left with a dislocated voice. Even if they were not eating their words, the audibility of what was meant to be understood would still be incoherent. The satisfaction could never be conceived, as it could never be recognizable, outside of  heads — Cogito ergo sum…  Nothing is real until it happens. Dey thought.

 

While Dey was in the courtyard, and nothing mattered but the cigarette which Dey was dying to have, and when ‘Well meaning, she.’ interrupted, the twins were very pleased with the result. This is why Jasper Tressa and Arturo the Haunted skipped away together. Satisfaction!

 

Regardless. The people Command Sisko and spiritual leader Kai Opaka of Bajor discover in this world; their people continue to battle/fight, which leads to their deaths, and the circle of death and resurrection (I live, I die, I live…). 

 

I remember wondering, why don’t they kill themselves? Since there is that acknowledged sense of dying in battle would cause their return. I wondered, why return at all? Why return to this pattern? Because, that is the pattern for whomever created it…

 

The peculiarities surrounding this cycle heavily involved being killed by their “enemy” who will, without a thought, will kill. They all knew the rules. I wondered if suicide would be the catalyst which could end this relentless existence of being “absolved” in only a few seconds of atoning beliefs before resurrection?

 

For whatever reason, suicide was never explored in the episode. When thinking about it now and remembering how unhappy these beings’ lives were, I find it strange suicide was never even a hint of subtlety.

 

Caliban: Even if we are going to represent reality in a psycho dynamical mythic surrealism and exist, the dangers of experiencing those real edges always are subversive devices of, life. I hear it all the time. It is a conflictual flux involving loud, yelling agreements…

 

May be the hint was in the continuous act of fighting only to be killed? By engaging in I live I die I live…, is that the subtlety of killing themselves? Is that the truth for the people who spiritual leader, Kai Opaka of Bajor encounters and eventually decides to exist with. Is that what they know? A cycle of promises from a test, a competition, which seems incapable of grasping permanence: being gone, forever? May be the counter involves an unimaginable comprehension of nothingness? Because when did replaceable/irreplaceable actually explain or came close to being a void’s band-aid, even on a callus scale (a rhetorical question)? 

 

I am not for suicide… I am also a non-believer of myths. Myths which changes every second to hush the immediacy of whatever is the fuckery, as it is an attempt at not facing the consistent dig of what is fantasy versus what is, actually, a selfless interest… The latter may never had any sort of ‘REAL’ occasion, and maybe is extinct if it did. I do not want to participate in this known observation which is a spectacle of survival.

 

I am surviving

surviving

SUR

VIV

ING

[sur·vive sərˈvīv verb
gerund or present participle: surviving
continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.]

 

I am surviving for

attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks

attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks

attacks attacks attacks attacks attacks

barks hisses to my motherfucking face

kicks punches, blackeyes busted lips chipped missing motherfucking teeth broken bloody

slash invasion to my motherfucking clit.

 

I am surviving to feel to learn motherfucker

tough you can’t learn to feel motherfucker.

 

I am surviving so to be publicly burned 

for you fucker (for you).

 

The thing repeats the burn in my head

the thing laughs with the burn in my head

the thing gets drunk with the burn’s distortion

the thing will have a brawl of See, See, See

as the burn mutates as the thing tries to heal as it feeds on this, it feels on this, it feels on THIS!

I am surviving for more lies

that are not really lies 

(I can smell your subjected shit).

 

I am surviving so I can die timely

when you believe 

a god wants my soul.

 

Each day, 

I find it incredibly radical

I am still alive… 

Especially as I discover

that radicalism in your eyes — Mirror Effect.

Brittle

Fragile
Not even a warm stomach
Can bear these cycles
of the starkly rushing wind
exhale in crisp as clear
Bares your skin and pulse your footsteps
What was a cool breeze now penetrates and eviscerate any warmth from your layers
It is a reminder
Winter is coming

Winter

There are so many days to live through…
When survival is the reckoning of warming
the feet, ankles, hands, neck and the face.
In each of these days walking, moving in them
for hours in the cold, in silence and alone,
reckoning with well, how could it be different?
Your nose constantly runs as the exchange of winter’s air
meets the internal heat making perspiration.
Your toes are fat icicles.

Jovany and Eva

This story first appeared in Curve magazine.

 

There is nothing more unwelcoming than stares, especially when they are asserting you do not belong. Going out for Jovany and Eva has been more of an issue than Jovany’s fear of crowds. They decided it was less uncomfortable for their existence together to stay put in the apartment, in small circles of course, close friends. Since it is never seemingly worth the trouble of traveling only to be gawked at, harassed, and at the end of the night, feeling defeated. They would fight with each other like the sex and the love was the problem. It suddenly becomes less or more in the tiny space inhabited.

 

They have not been out in a while. In fact, neither of them experienced the new weather.  The weather: perfect for sitting outside, sipping on something, and enjoying a good cigarette. They decided to meet at a pub after work. Eva chose the pub which she frequented during her law school days, an Irish pub with an outdoor patio. Jovany has never been to this place.

 

Jovany arrives at the pub and finds Eva outside. Relieved to see Eva’s familiar face, they do not interrupt, but watches Eva doing exactly what they both at least imagined. Eva is not preoccupied with her phone, but instead smiling unconsciously, appreciating the transition of the day. They beam at each other once Eva senses she is being observed. The pub manager comes out to greet Jovany and ask for ID, saying to Eva, “He looks like he’s 12!” Jovany gives a cynical grin, since this is not the first time someone confuses age, confuses gender. And they are aware that this won’t be the last time they will be ignored because of this confusion. Jovany hands over their Louisiana State ID. The manager glances at it and smirks towards Eva. Her back facing Jovany as she asks, “He doesn’t have a New York State license?” 

“You mean you need a New York State license to have a beer?” Eva replies. “So what exactly do people from other states do while visiting New York? And by the way it is they, not he.”

“What?” The manager responds confused.

“THEY!!” Jovany and Eva says in unison.

The manager scoffs, “Whatever! It has to be a New York State ID,” she demands sucking her teeth.

“It’s a Louisiana ID, and as far as I remember, Louisiana is still a part of the United States.  And by the way, I’m not invisible. I’m right here!” Jovany shouts. It has gotten under their skin, since even the very simple, small things have been adding up. 


Earlier, while heading back to work after lunch, Jovany saw a beautiful dress which they believed Eva would love to wear, and they would love to see Eva dance in. Jovany stood at the store window, mesmerized by the fantasy. They walked into the store and immediately asked if they could see the dress in the window. The attendant looked at Jovany for a long time, and finally explained the value of the dress, and that it did not run in their size. Jovany, still high from the fantasy, did not catch the nuances, and instead hastily repeated, “She would look amazing. Can I see it?” Realizing Jovany was not listening to the subtle refusal, the attendant told them, “Ok, I’ll check…” 


The store was not busy. After waiting for some time, Jovany searched for the attendant. They asked again for the dress, and the attendant said the dress was out of stock. Remembering Eva’s size, Jovany replied, “I really think the one in the window would fit her. Can I see it?”
“They told me I can’t take it down… It’s only for display,” the attendant said completely annoyed by Jovany’s cluelessness.
“But what if I want to buy it?” Jovany hissed with a hard smile, waking up. “Can I please see it?”

The attendant left again, but Jovany’s excitement was now flavored with distaste. They considered relinquishing the desire of seeing Eva’s face while she opened the box and saw the beautiful dress, and then danced in it. I should just go… I shouldn’t without it. Eva would love it. It’s in the colors she likes, and the cut is perfect. Besides, what does that say about me? I give up when people act stupid? But I am not here to teach anyone anything! I just want to buy a fucking dress! Jovany could not find what they needed to withstand the bitter taste eroding any of the joy they experienced. All they now wanted was to escape. 


Having no fight left, they angrily grab their bag and says, “We should leave.” Disgusted, Eva gets up and announces, “I’m never setting foot in this place again. And I’ll be sure to inform my friends who come to your pub as to why.” 

 

After several blocks of walking in silence, Jovany says, “I’m sure she could give a rat’s ass about your friends not coming to the pub, but I understand your need for vindication.”

“What!?” Eva stops and slams her purse to the ground. “What does that mean, Jovany? I’m really disturbed by all this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to that pub. I even know her, we were chatting before you arrived. I’ve never experienced any of this borderline prejudice there.”
“Well of course, you’re white, babe. What else could it be?”

“Maybe it’s more than your blinders that you feel so self-assured about,” Eva says annoyed, walking swiftly.
“What blinders? What are you talking about?”
Eva, now at the corner of the street, hops into a cab and leaves.

Walking in the dark, still feeling the heat internally, Jovany considers Eva’s remark. They begin to think, Eva is somewhat right, that race was also coupled with many other things.  It could be my ambiguous gender? Who gives a fuck about my ambiguous gender! But that argument quickly becomes a conflict, as they remember their father’s last visit. He was overwhelmed by their appearance. 

He had not seen them in several years, and they were no longer the awkward tomboy trying to fit into a dress. They however, looked more like him, as they no longer hunched their broad shoulders into an unconscious cave attempting to be shorter than 6’.2”. They no longer folded their long arms to hide their reach, or even their large hands, instead they let them dangle. Even the way they dressed was astonishing, as it was more comfortable, more expressive than the Jovany he knew. But it was too much at once, and his first reaction was an uneasy laugh followed by, “I now have a son.” 

“Ah, yeah… I guess…?” Jovany said as they hugged tightly.
Their father held on the tightest, as he felt the same fear he experienced when Jovany came out as queer. He felt it more so now with great urgency, as he saw, more than ever, what he considered to be a dangerous road Jovany was on, as a black person whose gender is ambiguous. He thought maybe their voice could still protect them from harm, so he blurted, “You still have your beautiful voice.”

Jovany did not understand what their father meant until this moment. They believe it was their high soprano voice which confused the manager the most, which led to a deeper confusion. That they were physically there with someone they were not supposed to be with?

 

Eva was not a model, but she was constantly told that she could be. She had the traditional beauty aesthetic, which made her stand out for random propositions of both marriage, and promises of stardom. Eva, albeit her secret enjoyment of the attention she received, still could not completely believe in its sincerity. Besides, she had a deep seated appreciation for knowing and showing just how strong she is, and how much the scars she earned from living was so much a part of her sense of self. 

 

Eva’s father was partly responsible for her deep seated appreciation of self, he taught her how to hunt, how to build a fire and a tent out of nothing. Eva, never wanting to depend on anyone, she taught herself more than how to handle a gun for killing deer. She repaired everything around the apartment, as she felt her femme self still can occupy those spaces. 

 

“This is not enough, Jovany. Every time we go out we end up here. Do you remember the last time we went out? You probably don’t, but I do. We were at your friend’s birthday party. You didn’t want to go, and I still don’t understand why, since you are in complete awe of Winnie. I know that night was awful, and you were having a difficult time with the amount of people in the bar. And yes, I remember the shoving match with the frat boy in the men’s room. I know the wonen’s room was occupied and you needed to go. And I know about the time the security guard pushed you up against the wall. Or the time a guy tried to kick your ass because his girlfriend was in the bathroom. Or the time at your job when someone said you were in the wrong place. Yes, I know all of this. You told me, but there is something else you’re not telling me, and I see it eating away at you. It’s me, Jovany! It’s me, Eva! Please tell me.”

 

“Why did you leave? You leaving is just as much a part of it all! That you can just easily remove yourself from EVERYTHING when it becomes difficult! And that’s so much of your whiteness, and how it plays out with you being ‘pretty’… Even when you pretend that it’s not real. I thought about what you said, though. And you are somewhat right, if I get what you meant by blinders. In fact you, you have your own set of blinders… If you cannot or choose not to see how race impacted what happened and what continues to happen. A woman loving a woman – that might be ‘tolerable’ depending on who’s watching and at what particular time, because we are seemingly still living in the days of tribalism. In some spaces it might be okay to love a woman and have her love you, unless she doesn’t fit into solely belonging to a particular group. Which I get every day. That yes, I do deserve love, as long as my nonbinary/non-conforming black ass is not loving from that pool of women that straight cis-gender white men are entitled to have. And yeah, I do feel like I am the complete betrayer of black women… When they don’t necessarily want me, or even have too… What I see is ownership every day. Every single time we are out together. Yeah, I get this message every time when I want to hold your hand. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been introduced as a couple, you’ll still be hit on right in front of me. And I know, even when you say you don’t care, that you do care and you do like it. Even as I’m being hated for no other reason. Our relationship isn’t considered real, Eva. Even our sex, when it’s no one’s business, is up for fucking debate! Do you remember your own cousin’s thoughts about us? She was drunk, but whatever. You know what she believes, ‘You guys are not really having sex, Eva. Evita! She’s a virgin. Like come on, she has never had sex with a dude.’ Do you remember that? Do you remember her saying that shit to us? Emily doesn’t fucking know me like that!!! But oh yeah she gets to assume and openly discuss! Never mind the countless times of being misgendered, or the times her boyfriend being weirded out and thinks I’m going to rob them. Because well, that’s what black people do, especially when you can’t figure out their gender, right? Can’t you not see it? This is what is making me crazy, and you’re not helping! I also don’t need you to rescue me!!!! 

 

The next day, Eva sees Jovany’s response to her note on the refrigerator. She slowly sits on the kitchen chair as she reads. Staring at the floor, she covers her mouth and cries quietly. Jovany is asleep on the sofa bed. Still enraged by the evening, they decided they needed to sleep alone. Eva collects herself, walks to the sofa bed, and carefully wraps herself within Jovany’s arms. 

“Are you fake sleeping?” 
“Maybe…?” Jovany playfully answers, eyes shut, trying not to smile.
“Fake sleeper.” Eva kisses Jovany’s cheek.
“I read your note… I’m so sorry I left you… That wasn’t right…”
“You think?” Jovany taunts.
“I suck,” Eva tease, hoping Jovany would ease up and let her in.
“You do!” Jovany says not totally giving it up, but also not completely shutting Eva out. 

Jovany opens their eyes, and they look at each other quietly. They both laugh.
Eva starts, “I love Emily to death, but she can be an asshole.”
“Yeah, she is an ass. And I want nothing to do with her.”

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t spend time with my family? You know how hard this is on me too, you know, right? Eva says defensively.

“I’m not saying that at all… Stop throwing it back on me!” Jovany responds pulling away.

“So what do you want me to do? I mean, we grew up together. She’s my family!”

“I don’t know, Eva! Maybe, I dunno, talk to her, let her know that this is affecting us. It’s affecting me, and it’s fucking wrong! Wrong!!! Either way, I’m not going to subject myself to that shit anymore. You can hang out with her because that’s your cousin you grew up with!”
“Wow, you’re not being fair here.”
“I’m not being fair? Are you hearing me at all!?” They look at each other again, but this time Jovany despondently turns away. Eva holding back her tears, unexpectedly grabs Jovany and says, “I understand… I understand…” The embrace last for awhile, until Eva gently rubs her nose against Jovany’s neck. She whispers, “Also, maybe not tribalism, but more specifically segregation? Remember, Loving versus Virginia.”

Jovany immediately springs up, “But isn’t that the point of tribalism, to dominate and own? And isn’t it easier to do this when you can visually decide that, that person is the enemy and/or inferior? It’s fucking insane there is a need for a law saying it’s ok, when it clearly still isn’t, that two consenting adults can be together and start fucking. Whatever! We should go live in the wild or something…You can teach me how to fish and shoot game.”
Eva half laughs, “Jesus…this again? Are you trying to start a fight?” She abruptly gets up off the sofa bed. “What are we eating for breakfast?”
“Exactly, we can live off the land!”
Eva rolls her eyes, “Stop it! What are we eating, Jovany?”
“Bacon, with some cilantro, scrambled scallion eggs…” Jovany says almost singingly, as they get up. “Seasoned tomato paste, on toasted olive oil garlic bread…” They sing as their voice trails off to the kitchen. Eva puts the sofa bed back into place, and folds the blankets. She stops, heartsick, and with an uncertain stare, she painstakingly looks out into the now early afternoon sky. In the kitchen, Jovany turns the stove on and exhales a long tired sigh.

PRONOUNS: THEY/THEM/THEIRS

Reposting this article I wrote about the importance of pronouns here:

Gender is everywhere, and is added to everything! Even the most arbitrary and inanimate are gendered. Like, being tall, having broad shoulders… Wearing clothing that is just comforting and comfortable has a gender. Gender is used to discriminate, and to define who is allowed to do what… And because of this dynamic, where, inorder for me to exist, for my life, my existence to be accepted, as is; I have to demand my place in pronouns: They/Them/Theirs.

Every time I am referred to, addressed as he or she, I really disappear, and an awkward weirdness surfaces. This disappearance/weirdness is not a trend. This is not some new philosophy I recently discovered, as there is evidence of people like me throughout history; spanning many, if not all, cultures. An excellent book covering this historical aspect is Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors. Yes, I have a better way of explaining what I experience when I’m referred to and addressed as he or she, but I’ve always felt this actual interruption… I have been stopped by my selfhood.

My earliest experience of this disappearance/weirdness is being ten an unable to decide if I am male or female. I was filling out a data form for an examination, and I remember how disturbed I became, and experiencing perplexing difficulty deciding. I really want you all to consider this, because it is an existing reality I live with ever since I was a little kid!

This stop still happens. It has so much of a place, that I now understand why my experiences with people, even experiences with people whom I love are moments of “designation”. Like, here is where I exhibit a thing which works with here – essentially being an impostor. Yes, I do recognize both my femininity and masculinity, but it is generally related to a role for a dynamic. Such as, I am most masculine when I’m walking the streets at night alone. I actually crawl, and “hard”, like a gangster, as I am the most macho of machos. A lot of this “hard” crawling is a response to being attacked one night, while walking home. Even though the following article was written in wake of the “Pulse” murders, its listing of ways one can be an ally is still relevant: https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/06/allies-after-orlando/

Most times I can get away with – for lack of a better expression – passing as a dude, being the most macho of machos, because I am too tall and too muscular to be a woman… Or am I? I can’t count how many times this has negatively impacted me. For instance, earlier this week, I was walking ahead of two little kids, and I suppose their parent. The eldest of the kids, blurted out, “That’s a girl? Really?” Insinuating me. What the adult failed to do was correct the kid by asserting that no one’s gender and gender expression is privy for public debate.

It is the same with what we regard/place as feminine, and even though it is maybe (maybe?) less likely I’d be physically attacked, it’s very apparent I am not really femme, not really butch, not really a dude. I feel this distance not only with cis people (some of whom I love and completely cherish), but even with queers (some of whom I love and completely cherish). This magnifies my perpetual state of being an impostor outsider… Because, at my very core, I reject this. My very core shows up with these roles/categories making it strange and weird. Making it uneasy. Making me an imposter.

It is because of this organization of the world being “normalized” in this binary paradigm, that there is non-consensual “corrective” procedures being performed on intersex children. I found this article to be helpful: https://www.them.us/story/intersex-allyship-101

For many years, I have been lax about pronouns, as a way of accommodating other people’s comfortability before my own. Which has been detrimental to my well being, because as mentioned a disappearance of self occurs. An erasure of who I am from my very core. Here are two articles, one which addresses the high rates in depression and mental illnesses in the LGBTQIA communities, particularly in youth, and another which gives a more in-depth explanation as to why we should respect the usage of the pronouns (or however a person self express their gender) They/Them/Theirs:

https://www.them.us/story/lgbtq-youth-mental-health-crisis

https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/12/they-pronouns-cis-privilege/

Here I am. Living, breathing as THEY/THEM. Always have! You are only confused because you do not want to listen, and you do not want to hear. It is inconvenient to really listen and really hear, because then you’d have to really think deeply about everything… Happy Pride!

HAPPY TWENTY-NINETEEN!

Twenty-Eighteen has been both a really challenging and rewarding year. I’m thankful I was able to accomplish the goals I set out for myself. I’m thankful for my family, and the friends in my life who’ve supported me on the journey of coming out with my first EP, QUARREL.

I honestly feel very confident about the new year, which is a surprising first for me. The work is never over! Here’s a PLAYLIST set for the future and whatever will be, will be!

 

Title tracks in one listening order:

Your Hand in Mine by Youth in Roman Field

Stay Good by Kid in the Attic

Tears to Keep Me Warm by Mackenzie Shivers

First Day of The New Year by Jess Taylor Clinton

Long Distance by Kid in the Attic

Kick It to Me by Sammy Rae

Town Hall by Youth in Roman Field

The Sea by Nikkiesha McLeod

Follow Me Down by Renata Zeiguer

Believe by Mackenzie Shivers

Truth Hurts by Lizzo

Velvet by Jess Taylor Clinton

Fitness by Lizzo

Wayside by Renata Zeiguer

Good Life by Sammy Rae

You’re Gonna Need This by Nikkiesha McLeod

Stay Good by Kid in the Attic

TWENTY-NINETEEN HERE WE COME!

⚡️SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT⚡️

PHOTO: ELIZABETH MANEY

WHERE: Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3, 185 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
WHEN: January 15th, 7PM
WAYMENT: $12
“Steelpan rhythms form the bones, and periodically new instruments accompany the arrangement, guitars, strings and beautiful harmonies. The resulting sound is unique to my ears and is a complete triumph.” -FRESH ON THE NET
Follow me on Spotify and Facebook!

Download Quarrel HERE!