Wednesday, August 10, 2011
"You'll disappear like a June bug in July, I'll be thankful for my time."
At night, I prop my feet against the banister on my porch and let the rain drip down my toes. The cool droplets collect on my feet before meandering down my calves, falling into the space behind my knee, and then down my thighs. Like fingers trailing the contours of my legs, the rain is a sensual presence within my own.
And the June bugs! Dark, full of rich ambers and browns that have an iridescent quality in my streamed porch lights' shine. They fill my ears with little nothings. In the clicks and chirps, I have full conversations with myself like my mom used to when she thought I was asleep and NPR played on the radio. Like a lively friend provoking a deep conversation, the June bugs are a filling presence within my own.
This summer, I have stepped into learning on my own. I moved to a new city where most don't live for half the year, and where people have their own lives and work and have their own friends; the occasional dinner party felt like an oasis in the desert of social abandonment; and real life took precedent over play, most days.
It's scary when I realize how temporary people are. As it is, I tend to build superficial relationships with folks to keep from getting too hurt when they leave (we all leave, sometimes). But when I let people in, and they leave, it feels like a severed chord; a missing finger; and something to be mourned as a loss. The Flaming Lips, though, have a lyric:
"And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know You realize that life goes fast It's hard to make the good things last You realize the sun doesn't go down It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round"
I find that comforting. If not completely upfront about that with every person I meet, I try to remind myself as best possible of that when I start letting someone in.
But the better question is how do you let yourself in? How do you be friends with yourself? Depend on yourself for support, comfort, security, and love? These are those age-old questions that get wrapped in with growing up; the questions we have to answer (or strive to answer) through life and experience; and the answers come more intuitively than given.
For me, I feel my presence as supportive when I lie in bed and grab my pillow to hold onto tight at night. I feel comfort when I laugh and scream at something that just passed through my head, or for tone deafness in the shower. I feel myself keeping me safe when I make decisions about what to buy, where to be at night, and what creeps to avoid. I feel my love everyday when I nourish my body; when I cook myself biscuits; when I smile at something I've said or seen and appreciate it as perceptively independent from my own existence.
I used to have so many best friends, but now I think all I want is one: me. And you know as well as I do that's not an abandonment of people I love and care for as so much a found connection that will never tear, and that I will never loose -- that's special.
** HAVE SUSHI WITH PEOPLE YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IN 5-6 YEARS AND END UP SPENDING THE ENTIRE NIGHT TOGETHER.
** GO TO THE CLUB SOBER AND DANCE WITH YOUR SHIRT OFF.
** LAUGH UNTIL 6 AM AT THE SAME JOKE WITH NEW PEOPLE YOU'VE HARDLY HUNG OUT WITH.
** RESPOND TO 2:30AM TEXT MESSAGES WHEN YOU'RE STILL ASLEEP.
** LAUGH OUT OF NERVOUSNESS IN FRONT OF LESBIANS OUTSIDE OF A BAR.
** SASS THE WAL-GREENS EMPLOYEES OVER MANGO ICED TEA.
Friday, July 1, 2011
"Hold up, hold up, wait a minute, wait a minute."
It's the one time the dog bites;
The first time the bus driver gets angry;
When you see your parents fights;
Your heart breaks and a piece of it stays there.
And I wonder, "Is this what jaded feels like? I hope it passes.
I hope I am always able to give away everything
With no expectations
I hope to God my Heart always breaks like this.
That I am always surprised by how cruel we can be,
And how nonsensical we can be, --
And how beautiful we are. Amen.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
On the back of my quiz, I wrote this poem. My TA and I met regarding my grade, and at the end she asked me if everything was going ok. I said, "I mean, with my life? Yes." She handed me my quiz back, back side up, and said, "Well, I read this, and I just wanted to let you know if you need to talk, you can."
I paused, turned red, and asked if I could take back my poem I thought lost to the recycling bin. She made me a copy, and I thanked her for her concern and outreach. I shared a brief amount, although, always too much in this type of relationship, with what was going on in my life. She said, "We're all in this together, right?"
I think so. I think we can all, to some degree, relate to feeling as if a part of our body is being singled out. Whether that's your crooked teeth, your uneven breasts, your shortness, your tallness, you jaw line, your perfect ass... This is for our brief encounters with our own bodies where we realize a particular part of our bodies is means more.
For me, it's my
My LEGS code sex -- long and slender stems leading to the cherry on top.
My LEGS code gender -- ambiguous at times. Smooth and attractive, defined and shaped by movement dynamics in a dynamic where they don't fit.
My LEGS code race -- white and pale and full of rose colored privilege that keeps me in a comfortable space where I am isolated, at times.
I never knew how well versed my LEGS were until I walked down the street and all I heard was, “Baby, so sweet!”
Or when I walked into a gas station and eyes became helper-T’s recognizing a molecular invasion of the normalized body.
I could have guessed, but when a man shows his legs and wears the short shorts that I wear, the reactions unleash a script of social rule,
And maybe they are just LEGS -- muscle, flesh sparsely covered in a coat given to me by my master code, by my biomasters whose lives and deaths wrote my legs.
My LEGS are code for the nights in that seedy dark club on White and Llamar pulsing to the music against your legs covered in piss and cheap liquor.
My LEGS are code for the bruises he left on my thighs and the cries I wanted to cry but stayed quiet in the black and blue light.,
And before that, the sweet touches of my mother caressing me to sleep,
And soon to be translated, my legs will code for a love in his eyes when he sees me walking towards him.
** VOTE LIKE YOU MEAN IT.
** DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU'RE GONNA' DO EVEN IF YOU DON'T GET THE WORD.
** HOLD THE DOOR OPEN FOR OLDER WOMEN AND TELL THEM YOU RELATE.
** USE GIANT TRASH BAGS TO CARRY ALL YOUR CLOTHES ACROSS CAMPUS.
** LOOK AT COLLEGEACB AND EXPECT YOU'RE NOT ON IT.
** DOUBLE BOOK SEX ED WITH YOUR GRANDMA.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"I like to get dirty. Do you like to get dirty? I like to cause trouble. I like to cause trouble, but only in the most sweet way."
I make the trek to Piedmont Park most weekends to run my hands through the grass and press my toes into the dirt. In this urban jungle that is Atlanta, my rural East Tennessee spirit finds solace in the slow moving beetles climbing and shifting through the leaves of grass.
When I first came to Atlanta, I searched endlessly, like the beetle, for a place to call home. What I realize now is that no matter how hard you look, you'll inevitably simply sink into comfort. It's the ease at which it happens that surprised me most. It's the folks working at the Mediterranean bodega recognizing me; it's the in depth conversations with strangers at Flying Biscuit; it's the ritualistic spot where I always sit and feel at the roots of trees in Piedmont Park.
It's this sense of belonging that, for me, spurs ownership and engagement. I'm no longer a tourist, but an Atlantian. We hop on rickshaws and careen through Virgina knowing exactly where our free ride is taking us and where it's not. And where it's not taking me, I put in the energy to walk.
I'm taking a graduate course on feminist engagements with synthetic biology and bioethics. Every week we have a speaker, and this week, we welcomed Cara Page, an Atlanta community organizer and feminist-anti-racists-achiever healer. After class, we spoke with enthusiasm about my efforts to settle into this place and my eagerness to do so. At Emory, you get the theory; you get a kind of knowledge that's very useful for writing papers and talking to people and coming up with ideas. With Cara Page, you fuse that knowledge with the knowledge of real people by working with them and experiencing community. With Cara Page, you get a hug.
That's not unlike my work with a fabulous KSU student, Edric Figueroa. Edric found me in Piedmont Park and invited me to join the anti-war protest marching down the sidewalk. He said, "Hand these out!" and immediately I threw myself into the midst of asking strangers if they knew what the federal budget looked like. It's as if I'd forgotten how to interact with people. Do people in Atlanta act like people in Knoxville? To some degree, but the same thing could be said about me.
** BUY A FLAMING KATY AND NAME HER GWEN.
** SPEAK HONESTLY AND DEVELOP BLUE FLAMES.
** WRITE POEMS ON THE BACK OF QUIZZES.
** TOUCH PIECES OF LUNCH MEAT CAUGHT IN THE DRAIN.
** WALK ON WET HILLS.
** RIDE ON BUSES WITH DRUNK EMORY STUDENTS.