RESTAURANT POETRY

I try to think of what to say
The words crumble in my mouth
They float up to the rafters
Eventually they’ll fall south

They’re waiting for the melody
They taste of sweet vermouth
The liquor always helps me
It says to tell the truth

Summertime is far away
But in here the light stands still
The present is forever
We don’t have to pay the bill

The candles burn so slowly
They sparkle in a dance
Like shattered stars they twirl
They got me in a trance

Let’s keep up this masquerade
With champagne and gold brocade
With rosé and coq au vin
Do you hear the serenade

The ceilings whisper secrets
You look at me cozily
I’ll try not to forget
It’s just some restaurant poetry

@rhapsodiesinlimbo

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For History’s Sake

justice

I am writing this because I have no words and yet words are all I have.

If you woke up today, got ready for work or school, and went about your day without any sorrow, or fear, or anger, or helplessness, without a moment to push down the knot in your throat, or a second to wipe away a tear that burned in your eyes, if you went about your normal day today without any heaviness in your heart, then I have to congratulate you. Society has gifted you with a privilege I do not have. You can walk around today knowing you don’t have to worry about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or fitting a description, or exercising your rights like any other person, or simply existing in the presence of police while also being a person of color. Congratulations because you lucked out. You won a lottery that no one sanctioned, a contest created to maintain false superiority. And I know for most people that are unbothered today, that was just a happy accident. Luck of the draw. Today is not your day to be upset, outraged, hurt, or devastated. Today you can carry on as if nothing happened.

But something did happen. Another black man lost his life at the hands of police who, yet again, failed to deescalate a situation. If you are having just another normal day, congratulations. You didn’t scroll through your timeline muttering, “Please not again. Please not today.” You get to go on living your life without the weight of knowing that no where is safe, no action is safe, nothing is safe. If you can go about your day without the nausea of heartbreak, without the sickness of injustice. You are a lucky one.

I’ll be honest I’m tired of talking about all this. I’m tired of writing these posts. I believe I was as tired yesterday when a different black man was gunned on the streets by police. I was as tired less than a month ago when Orlando happened and again Congress failed to pass any meaningful legislation. I am as tired today as I was a year ago and even five years ago when at the epicenter of all this violence again lies a gun. And I am, once again, exhausted to be writing about these issues again, because nothing ever changes.

But I am writing this because I have no choice. I am writing this because if I don’t speak I will add to the ocean of silence that rises every time another life is lost by the hand of injustice. I am writing this because Black Lives Matter. People of color matter. Ask yourself what will be written in the history books about this time in our society. Ask yourself what you will say to your grandchildren when they ask what you did. Will you stay silent? Or will your voice be heard by the annals of history as one that stood on the side of justice and equality?

Black Lives Matter. Say it. Say it if you have one iota of respect for the people, for the slaves who built this country, for the indigenous blood on which they were forced to build the foundation for this “great” country. Say it for all the people who live in fear. For the people who dream of nothing but having a roof over their heads, and food on the table, and maybe a better future for their children but because of where they were born, or the color of their skin society says they can’t be safe. Say it for me because my heart aches any time I wonder if I or someone I know and love might be next.  And say it for yourself because in another lifetime it could be you.

To my family, friends, and any POC hurting right now, stay safe. Stay alive.

I am writing this because I have no words and yet words are all I have.

#BlackLivesMatter #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastilo #SayTheirNames

“We all bleed red, but whose blood is in the streets?”

Circle

We are in circles
In circles we go
Too late to go back
Too soon to throw

IMG_3464
A caw and a cluck
The feathers they fly
Amid two-buck chuck
All high in the sky

The sand and the click
The tick and the tock
The pages they stick
They roll off the dock

A crunch and a hole
A rock rolling by
Instead smoke a bowl
Let the dirt pile high

Nowhere to go
No steam and no flame
No way to say no
No time for a game

IMG_2065

Taste the ashes and smoke
The cackle of poison
Just one hit of coke
Go ahead fake the motion

A circle, that circle
Is all that you get
Take a good look around
Now place your bet

 

Too late to go back
Too soon to throw
Sit back or attack
Now where will you go?

02.27.12

Find CIRCLE again on the  POEMS page.

 

September Haze

It doesn’t come.

Its buried, gone. I search, I strain, I long for sweet recall, but it rarely comes. The words breeze by, softly scented like summer, fleeting and forgettable. The only thing that lingers is the sweet memory, blurry and fragile, halted in the heat. It stays for far too long, becoming a stinking sweat, sticky and repulsive, drowning any desire to pursue more. It festers, useless, until it must be banished, off into the rotten heap of things we want to forget.

Its useless really, chasing a train of thought. There’s no hope in catching it. The moment’s too fleeting. If you’re lucky, the stars align and you can throw the letters down, charged like lightning, striking with force. If you’re lucky.

I try not worry too much, about those words long gone, careening away to another world where I can’t catch them. They’ll be okay. They’ll find a stop, and I might catch up again. But if I don’t that’s okay too.

It’s just so hard not to try, when the summer’s waning, fall barreling down upon you with relentless speed, and you want something to hold on to. Or maybe it’s what I’m trying to avoid. After all the warm sun of summer, I dread the stark dry days ahead, when leaves fall with reckless abandon and the sky turns grey with indifference.

Really it’s the fear of what I’ll remember as the September haze wafts in, carrying all the things long ago cast aside. That train has memories quite sharp, that easily sting, anew and fresh, as if they’d never left me.

All the nightmares and the stars, the demons deep within, slither silken and sly among the lost dreams, the desiccated fountains of ideas still yet to bloom, tortured from wanting to know the unknowable.

Interminable, the impatience of waiting for lightning to strike.

It doesn’t come.

But the thunder, it rolls.

Lady Danger

Apparently there is such a thing as NATIONAL RED LIPSTICK DAY so, naturally, I had to honor that with this…

LADY DANGER

the incendiary choice of women and their red lips

“Why do you wear red lipstick?” he asked, implying it somehow offended him. The answer is technically simple. She wanted to say, “Because I like it” and leave it at that, simple and snarky. What more was there to say? As a short pause blossomed into a tingling silence it became clear that ‘because…’ didn’t quite encompass how she felt. An answer was in the wings. “Lots of reasons,” she started to explain. There wasn’t a big secret to reveal, but really the answer was more complicated than she realized.

She hadn’t yet discerned, for example that her ten year aversion to cherry lips was birthed somewhere between being told it made her ‘look old’ and being asked why she ‘needed to look like a whore.’ Could she recall who had inflicted such venomous comments on her dormant psyche? No. Spite-filled kernels like that had simply piled up like rubies over the years, some distilled from the condescending comments of jealous teens (‘omg your mouth looks huge’) or extracted from the omniscient mouthpieces of the media (‘its way too loud’). Perception. That was the word that caught on her lips better than the sanguine shade. How did it make her look? Was it really what others thought or it was all in her head?

“Skin white as snow and lips red as the rose…” a simple, poetic line from a Disney classic that seems, like the many others that came afterward, to equate pristine beauty with fair skin and a blood-red mouth. Somewhere along the line she had absorbed the idea that one came with the other, not noticing that they weren’t mutually exclusive. Perhaps the hormone-fueled teenage years had distorted the ideas of what looked good on darker skin and what didn’t into fact-less, fear-based insecurities peddled by bratty gossip mongers. She had dodged the spotlight intentionally, she surely rationalized, afraid that donning a rosy shade might attract the wrong kind of attention. Or perhaps much more so, it was the fear of truly knowing oneself, and stepping into shoes you already own. 

She hadn’t realized really, that it was indeed all in her head. That it was a self-branding of the Scarlet Letter. There was no reason to deny that the shade gives women a certain je ne sais quoi. That you suddenly don a cape of self-confidence and power. And the question, the one men ALWAYS have to ask, the challenge of WHY DO YOU NEED TO WEAR IT is simply a way of dismantling the assertiveness it gives you. Why do men insist on making us revolve around their whims? If they say it looks hot, its implied that its sexual— your plush red lips are simply attractive for their use in some sex act that pleases the man. If they say its fake, or garish, it means you’re an attention whore— implying you are not a real person and your choices are wrong, unsightly, and unwanted by “real men” for not being pure and virginal— again a state existing to please HIM— not anything to do with wearing lipstick…

“It just depends,” she finally explains, “I guess it’s how it makes you feel. Or really on how you’re feeling. Maybe it goes with your outfit. Maybe you need something to pop, to take it up a notch. Or dress it up. I dunno. Sometimes you put it on to make yourself feel better, a little diva boost, you know? Or if you’re feeling a little edgy and dangerous. But its kinda classic too, timeless. Goes with everything. You can’t go wrong with a red lip.”

“But I can’t kiss you,” he replies endearingly, playfully disarming the rouge’s ammunition. 

The plethora of emotions that arises from such a statement is nearly impossible to accurately catalogue. On the one hand there is a certain flattery… an excitement at being so wanted. There’s a feeling of wanting to please, to give what the other wants. There’s a sense of challenge. Why do I care what you want? A sense of wanting the freedom to choose what you wear, a liberty from it mattering to someone else. Why does it matter? It’s not for you… or is it? A spring of mischievousness bursts forth… you could succumb to the request OR you can tease, you can fuel the fire in a flirtatious way— not denying that you want the kiss, not shutting down the prospect, but not acquiescing either. There’s pride too as you realize that you have the power to do both… or neither… the whim is yours to control.

She gets a toddlerish pout of protest when she wears the crimson shade, but the allure of cerise is there, and later, when the heat of the night rises and the rose has sung it’s siren song, his face gleams with the scarlet brand— and she wins.

A woman in red is bold. She is strong. Fearless. She doesn’t care what you think. She’s okay with the spotlight. She’s sensual and she knows it. Look all you want, but that’s all you get. She is confident and doesn’t need to be reminded of it. She holds her own. She buys her own drink and can pay for yours. She’s beautiful, captivating. Soft, yet assertive. Formidable, but seductive. She’s in the driver’s seat. She holds the reins. And she doesn’t care what you think. She’s in charge. And you better get used to it.

Society is afraid of a world full of women like that. Why else would a little tube of lipstick elicit such ardent debates? Why does society insist on contradicting itself? Were the carmine lips of Cleopatra so meticulously questioned by advisors and courtiers? Did Marilyn resent the cardinal hue she’d become famous for? Perhaps, but we’ll never know. Wear what you want. After all, was the rose ever concerned by the opinions of thorns?

Some of my RED Must-Haves:

Classic Red— Estee Lauder
Russian Red— MAC
01 By Kate Moss — Rimmel
Pirate — Chanel
Jungle Red— Nars
Viva Glam! — MAC
RiRi Rihanna Frost — MAC
Spanish Red — Estee Lauder
Fire and Ice — Revlon
Lady Danger — MAC  

And by far my all time favorite and greatest ever… Ruby Woo — MAC

Love Wins

When the world is as dark and troubled as we experience today– not the obtuse, derogatory ways of the past, but the deeply entrenched, institutionalized ways our society has lived with for decades– it is rare to have a moment of pure joy and beauty.

Today the rainbow flew high and proud over us, forever cementing this moment in time. A moment when– finally– LOVE WINS.

Justice for All

Justice for All

What a beautiful beacon of light amid such incomprehensible evil. It’s been a long time since I was proud of being a citizen of this country but today is a day I will be glad to remember. Today is a day I’ll be happy to tell our grandkids about.

Today I am proud. For once in a long while America has delivered justice and given PEOPLE their basic rights. I can only hope that this LOVE will spread, and that the discourses on issues like inequality, race, sexism, and violence can grow and blossom.

Congratulations to all the couples finally getting the freedom and respect they deserve!! My heart swells with happiness for you!  Also, in honor of this oh most fabulous day I played the classic gay anthem, “I Believe” by Cher as I wrote this. And you know what Cher?

Today, I believe. I believe love wins.

¿Para Donde Vas?

“The greatest tragedy in life is to spend your whole life fishing only to discover it was never fish that you were after.”
— Henry David Thoreau

I used to write all the time. Ever since I can remember writing was my go-to form of expression, even when I didn’t know it. I would write about anything. My thoughts, my fears, something funny, something sad, boys, girls, teachers, music, my mom, MY DAD, my insecurities, my wants, my fantasies, my neighbors, my classmates, my hair, my boobs, my TV shows, my favorite movies, books, authors, poems, poems I wrote, poems I wished I wrote, San Francisco, things I love about San Francisco, things I hate about San Francisco, other places I want to live, places I want to visit, places I dream about, places that seem terrifying, places that seem like a dream, my dreams, my nightmares, my daydreams, my goals, my ambitions, my loves, my heartbreaks, my sadness, my joy, my depression, my happiness, my bitterness, my wandering eye, my lust, and most of all my future,  my future and all that it might hold.

An endless list that now, much to my chagrin, never begins. The starting line is invisible, the inspiration vanished, the drive, the passion, the inexplicable need to write down what I thought or felt—gone. Lost without a trace. I can’t seem to start. I just can’t seem to find my reason, my desire (my mojo if you will), to write.

At first I thought this was prolonged senioritis. I graduated film school (woohoo!) and I thought, “all right I’m gonna take the world by storm! I can’t wait to start my life!” IDIOT. Somewhere between the immeasurable happiness I felt at the thought of never having to do homework again and my natural talent for procrastination—I forgot to actually start working on something. Before I knew it I was pulling out excuse after excuse—I’m focusing on work, I need to save money, I need to buy a car, I need a break from my last project, I’m looking for the right person to collaborate with, I’m gonna start a blog, I’m gonna do a website, I’m gonna write a musical, I’m gonna do spoken word, I’m gonna start performing again, I’m too attached to the feature I wrote, I wanna rewrite an old project, I need to brainstorm, I need a break, I need a vacation, blah, blah, etcetera, etcetera. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

As the truth started to creep up on me – that I actually had no inspiration to write—I started to fall into denial. My talent was there I told myself, I was just letting it rest. I wasn’t procrastinating, I was letting myself bank ideas, I wasn’t going to squander good material and just let it sit in my hard drive. I was saving my REAL work for a PAYCHECK. No more free shit. I wasn’t going to reduce myself to that amateur hour.

That’s what everyone does right? After “Art School” (I say it in quotes because what did we learn REALLY?? How to still function after drug binged all nighters? Completing assignments DURING class? Bullshitting an assignment on the basis of artistic integrity? But I digress.) you think you’re finally gonna get what you’re worth—you’re gonna get paid for your exceptional talent and everyone is gonna love you—but for a lot of people it turns into baseless self-loathing and the endless search for a job that will PAY YOUR BILLS.

There arose the second stage—what I thought was the real reason for my new aversion to writing—the need for money. Ahhhhh that deplorable, ever-alluring, all consuming need for that shitty green paper! If I had all the money in the world it would solve all my problems! IDIOT. Of course it doesn’t. I mean, look at Donald Trump’s hair. But again, I digress.

In my defense it’s a solid excuse. Money is not a commodity in this world—it is a necessity. You can’t do much without it. Sure, when it comes down to it people are scrappy and can get by, but the truth is that the way our world is progressing it is becoming increasingly impossible to get by without a sustainable source of income. And yes, A LOT of the things that I saw myself accomplishing require some healthy capital, which standing by my earlier principle of not doing shit for free, I was NOT gonna provide myself.

Then I started thinking I had to have a REASON for writing. Like a goal, a project, a purpose in mind I guess. Like I didn’t want to write if it wasn’t mapped out or something. Then I had too many ideas—a blog, a novel, a series of short stories, a short film, a book of poetry, a book of essays, articles, a book series— ugh the list kept going.

So three months bleeds into six, six into a year, and then before I knew it, it was two years since I graduated and I hadn’t written a single thing—not to mention made a payment on my student loans (let’s not even start with those vultures). Then the panic set in. “If I don’t start something now I won’t have anything to show for all this time,” was the mantra that arose, and in turn kept feeding the anxiety that kept me from writing. Another year creeps by. And the vicious circle continued.

I was suddenly faced with the cold hard truth—I hadn’t written anything because I DIDN’T WANT TO. Yes, I’d felt the lack of inspiration, I’d been zapped by the stresses of work and moving, and relationships, but in all honesty at every other time in my life all those types of things fueled my writing, they made me pour myself onto a page without fear or restraint. So why the writer’s block??

I don’t know. But I am writing to find out.