Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shots Fired: Eros Strikes Back

Artwork by Clarina Gonzalez

Floundering & flailing
beneath so many failings
How could I have been so blind?
If Justice be sightless
and Eros be an archer
betwixt them
I am

*NOTE: Super technically speaking Cupid is the god who shoots arrows with his tiny bow. Eros is also a god of love but so far as I remember he was not packing.

Friday, May 30, 2014

 excerpt from the poem A September Night 
by George Marion McClellan (1860-1934)

....and joyous shouts 
Of Negro song and mirth awake hard by
The cabin dance. O, glorious is this night.
The summer sweetness fills my heart with songs
I cannot sing, with loves I cannot speak.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

....freed now from her cage she sings eternally and the echoes shall resound for the ages...

The Poet Has Passed Away....

Artist Muhammad Yungai

The poet is the witness and the visionary.
She is the one who voices what others are too fearful to say. She feels what others cannot name and then burns in the agony of the emotion, in the grip of its terrible suffering for the sake of knowing...for the sake of speaking of order to record the experience, to give power to our humanity and to destroy and demolish the evils that cannot win in the face of a heart that will not die, that will not be  ground to dust. The poet is the survivor of fires of that destroy lesser hearts and souls.

 She revels within the ecstatic joy found at the diminution of pain, and she shares her fire enlightens the darkness around her and gives warmth and illumination to all those in her blessed presence. She survives, she fights, she envisions and she lives to tell her kin, who are all humans, how to find the ecstasy and exultation for themselves.  

The poet is the being we rely on to feel that which we endure bitterness yet she lives to conquer and stand high abobe the ugliness and dirt and lowliness of this life...

The poet is she who can give power and courage to others because she has experienced fear and subjugation yet been freed. 
She gives name to what we fear, so that we can value love.

The poet has passed away.

God give her rest, joy and peace.

Dancing with Amiri Baraka

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Does CVS Know When It's My Period Time (Even When Sometimes I Don't?)

When I do my pharmacy shopping I generally go to CVS because 1) it is exactly a single city block from home and 2) I discovered that their coupon card gives really good returns IF you do ALL your shopping per month at CVS; the coupon card gives me several dollars in free stuff or discounts.

So one day when I was giving the lady my card number as she rang me up I paused to glance at the receipt when she handed it to me and then began bagging up. Sure enough like any other time there was a coupon for toothpaste and razors....and maxi pads. Hm, I thought, I'll have to remember I have this for next time. I knew I had squirrelled away several packages of maxi pads at home and just off the top of my head I couldn't remember when I was due to start my period but shit rock, right? Right. 

This happened maybe two consecutive months before I realized that CVS knew my menstrual cycle better than I did. By tracking my purchases through my coupon card it could deduce with much greater accuracy than I can claim as I disappear into the weedy late 30s but still-not-quite-40 spanse of terra firma.

CVS knows the date of my period. And that is fucked ...up.

Yes, I  appreciate the five dollar off coupons that the cashiers I'm friends with let me use for cigarettes even though it clearly says cigarettes are not eligible for purchase on the coupons but damn, does that really mean I have to sacrifice such a private personal detail such as that to the fucking corner store?!

Apparently so.

Even though my menstrual cycle has, for the first time since I was 12, skipped around, dodged and disappeared, played hide and seek with nerve wracking anxiety-ridden frequency, still I can always depend on the CVS coupons to give me the crucial tip off: Ayo, girl!! It's That Time!! Oh yeah!! Get ready to sleep with your heating pad tonight, girl!!

Right, right I find myself nodding as I shove the coupons into my bag and begin walking home. My corner store's coupon system is alerting me of my womanhood. But seems like they shoulda asked me first before we got so serious. I mean, this feels so fast. So new. 

Too late. We're now In A Relationship post to Facebook, inform all friends and followers. Because if you know the date of my period you know a hell of a lot about me. You and CVS, that is.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

You Think You Know Shopping? You Don't Know Shopping. I KNOW Shopping! Sit Down, Shut the Fuck Up. I Will Tell You About Shopping!

I was surfing my Facebook this morning when I came across this post. "Shopping is cheaper than  a psychiatrist." Now this I found to be quite a profound and bold claim and found myself sitting back to weight its truth. The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that the person who made this statement was not an individual who knew what the fuck they were talking about. In fact, as I began to survey my own memories of the past I became absolutely certain that this was false. I am prepared to allow that one can have bills of equal expense from both the psychiatrist's and retail therapy but I cannot simply allow that one will necessarily exceed the other, not if the woman in distress knows how to shop. And certainly not if she has the money and near limitless budget to pursue life as she wishes.

I grew up the grand-daughter of a professional gambler. In addition to taking care of my mother and grand-mother (GrandPoppy's 3rd ex-wife and his 5th ex-wife) he had a significant entourage that hung about. And he spent a fair amount of time keeping the women who were family from being jealous of the entourage and vice versa. The easiest way to achieve this tricker than tricky trick was to dole out cold hard cash and hope that it would last long enough to keep each camp occupied for a decent length of time to stay out of his personal. 

His youngest sister, my Aunt Helen, however grew up to lead a life of nearly every vice one can imagine. She pursued vice so well that eventually she became his most important business competitor. After marrying her pimp and leaving the sporting girl's lifestyle she managed to put her energy into all manner of business ventures, legal and semi-legal both. But that isnt what made Aunt Helen a legend. What made her legendary on the margins of  the city's black community was just her. Her SELF. It was the way she walked (like a woman who knew more about sexiness than you did); the way she looked (like a movie star: big hair, flashy clothes, jewelry made of large rocks, expensive heavy perfume that announced her presence before she was seen). She dressed like a rock star. She was an old woman when I was in high school and still there were folks who whispered about her in that awed type way folks do when they are speaking of someone who leaves morality to the preachers and lives however she damn well pleases.

So there was shopping going on all the time. The women in my family shopped at high end boutiques where black people rarely went. And this I know because occasionally my mother, grand-mother, my great Aunt Helen would return from a venture bearing boxes and bags like treasure pirates and they would report on a citing of another black woman from around town. The citing would be of the wife of the hospital Chief of Staff or some rare creature as that. In the conservative city one could easily spot another black person and be able to track them by a few degrees of separation. 

In the places the women in my family shopped you'd be settled down in antique chairs or cushy couches and served champagne while the attendants (who worked on commission) went waaay into the backrooms to bring out the swag that they didn't even bother to show to people with small money.

So when I saw the post this morning on Facebook I was assaulted with a bizarre range of emotions varying between rage, indignation, insult, irritation, longing, hope, and general nostalgia for days long gone. Because even into my 20s I was able to pursue the lifestyle I inherited. But to quote Ray Liotta as gangster Henry Hill in Goodfellas "Now I live like the average shmuck." 

Just thinking about that stupid post makes me mad. People just post any ole thing on Facebook and figure that if they get enough likes then that proves the truth in the statement. Because the truth is that most people don't know how to shop. I've made friends with girls and women throughout my life and someone might suggest a shopping trip and by my early 20s I always begged off any outing like that if I could. Because I can't be sure that shopping was exactly pleasurable, though it must have been since I did it often enough. But I and the women to whom I was related shopped hard, like bandits or predators. It was exhausting, tiring work that required a long rest after a nourishing meal. I learned to shop like the gladiators learned to fight for their lives. Shopping was at least as calorie draining as a power walk.

Check it out, at the height of my most disorganized lifestyle full of all manner of love drama, eating too little smoking too much, endometriosis taking its pound of flesh in eye watering knee bending pain, and finally, working hard all hours of day and night I shopped EVERY DAY. Everyday. Every day that God woke me up.

AND had a psychiatrist too. AND a psychologist too. (One does meds the other does talk therapy -- having both is not a measure of how crazy you are. Just saying. Each one helps in different ways). ANYWAY my point is that the person who made this poster doesn't know shit. And they especially don't know jackshit about shopping or psychology. 

I needed the psychology/psychiatry of course to deal with my present but also to sift through my past which was unusual at best. I had excellent health coverage at the time but I saw the bills which were not small. My psychiatrist kept a masseuse and a chiropractor on staff. While you waited for him to call you in, you would be worked on by each of the others. Oh what glorious pampering!! Ah how I miss those days!

Of course everyone, except for me and my mother, is gone who remembered those old days. So it's difficult for me to call witnesses to the psychotic shopping expeditions. 

Still, however, just one more proof that everything you see on Facebook isn't just one hundred percent truth. When the bell rings and all the rounds have been fought sometimes it's just far too exhausting to take a full reckoning on the damages. But if you want to put to monsters in the ring together then pit Shopping against Psychiatry and you will witness a formidable match of titans. Like Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier they are inseparable in importance.

And messy. Very messy. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Songs to Sing of Night and Rain

barely there 
wispy murmurs upon the air
soul sounds softly cooing like doves
too low to seduce the ear
attracting little attention

yet requiring awareness
and deep intuition

though it is knowledge that cannot be obtained
outside of the whirlwind
for those trapped in the funnel cloud chaos
alone, frightened, riding the eye to its destiny
within the storm's relentless violence
there is in this experience 
clarity now-- made plain--
 numerous mysteries
conspicuous in that time, in that place, in that state
when the mind bends low, kneels to fate

an unfamiliar encounter 
evidence leaves its mark
like a cattle brand
upon the insubstantial
the intangible
it is one's spirit that whispers
its joy and its pain
pleads with you to acknowledge
to listen
to sing the song of the night
and the rain

Friday, May 2, 2014

Note to my Politrixters,

Occasionally, I notice (when I'm slow getting up new content :) Good things take time, darlings!) that sometimes some of you drift back to read some of my early short fiction about Trixie the Ho. I got distracted for awhile working on my poetry and also trying to build up my essay writing muscle which means that I unintentionally  left the story of the sexy, mysterious Trixie Raconteur at an inconvenient cliff-hanger. But lately there've been some new characters dancing about in my imagination who are demanding some attention so I promise to get back to that particular galaxy soon, my loves!                                mwa! <3

I couldn't find the artist name for this but couldn't resist sharing....