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

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?”

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.

¿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.